The Kirkuk to Ceyhan oil pipeline carries about one quarter of Iraq's oil exports. Kurdish separatists are blamed for the huge blast.
The pipeline from the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan was sabotaged on Friday. The blast took place near the town of Midyan in Mardin province in Turkey near the Syrian border.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the blast. There is a second pipeline parallel to the one that the blast disabled. The second pipeline was shut down briefly as a precautionary measure.
Although the subsequent fire has been extinguished the pipeline remains shut down. Together the two lines move about 25 million tons of oil per year to be exported. Repairs to the pipe are set to begin but there was no announcement as to when oil would begin flowing again through the line.
Some officials blame the attack on the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK). The group has claimed responsibility for attacks on the line in the past. The pipeline is 600 miles long and hence it is difficult to provide security during the entire length of the line.
The Kurdish group(PKK) is fighting for autonomy for the region they inhabit in southeastern Turkey. Even though some officials have already blamed the group, investigation of the explosion is still ongoing.
The Kurdistan Workers' Party(PKK) is a Kurdish guerrilla group that since as far back as 1984 has used violence and armed struggle to try to set up an autonomous Kurdistan but the group also struggles for greater cultural and political rights for Kurds within Turkey.
The group was found far back in 1978 with Abdullah Ocalan as leader. Originally the group's ideology was a combination of revolutionary Marxism fused with Kurdish nationalism.
Ocalan was later abducted from Kenya to Turkey probably with the help of Mossad and perhaps the CIA.. He was sentenced to death but later this was commuted to life imprisonment. He abandoned his revolutionary Marxism while in jail and advocated a political solution to the Kurdish issue.
The PKK however has continued the struggle often using violence. A number of countries including the U.S. count the PKK as a terrorist organization. The organization has bases in northern Iraq. Turkey complains that the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq has not done enough to drive PKK members from these bases in the mountains of northern Iraq.