Bids sought for defense of pipeline

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey will open a tender in the coming days for a firm to provide new security measures against attacks against a pipeline on its territory bringing gas from Iran, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said yesterday. An explosion, which Turkish and Iranian officials said was sabotage, hit the pipeline last week near the border town of Bazargan in northwestern Iran, disrupting the gas flow. Iranian police accused Kurdish separatists of blowing up a section of the pipeline. The link was also hit by an explosion in August which Turkish authorities blamed on Kurdish guerrillas. «Aside from the usual procedures, our aim is to protect the pipeline… from land and air,» Guler told reporters, adding that talks had started with companies that could be candidates for the work. He said Ankara was talking to Iran about security but Tehran was carrying out its own work to protect the pipeline. Iran is contracted to deliver 22 million cubic meters of natural gas per day to Turkey, making it the country’s second-biggest supplier after Russia.