Incident Summary:

08/05/2008: On Tuesday, in Refahiye, Erzincan, Turkey, assailants caused an explosion on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, damaging the pipeline but causing no casualties. The Kurdistan Workers Party's military wing, the People's Defense Forces (HPG) claimed responsibility for the attack, however Turkish authorities initially blamed a system malfunction. Following a multinational investigation, a report from 2014 indicated that the attack was carried out by unidentified assailants who electronicaly disabled the pipeline's monitoring system and gained access to its operational controls, allowing them to increase the pressure in the pipeline and cause the explosion. Although the perpetrators were reportedly at the scene of the attack, investigators found no evidence of a physical bomb. Investigators speculated that at the time of the explosion only state actors would have had the ability to carry out a sophisticated cyber attack.

GTD ID:
200808050029

When:
2008-08-05

Country:
Turkey

Region:
Middle East & North Africa

Province/administrative
region/u.s. state:

Erzincan

City:
Near Refahiye

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Business
Name of Entity
Specific Description Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline
Nationality of Target Turkey
Additional Information
Hostages No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Major (likely > $1 million but < $1 billion)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Other
Weapon Details
The perpetrators exploited vulnerabilities in the pipeline's monitoring system and installed malicious software that allowed them to gain access to operational controls and increase the pressure in the pipeline without triggering alarms.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) Yes
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Group Sub-name Claimed Responsibility
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) (suspected) People Defence Forces (HPG) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Unknown)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Sources
"National Counterterrorism Center, "One Pipeline Damaged in Bombing by Kongra-Gel's in Refahiye, Erzincan, Turkey," Worldwide Incidents Tracking System, January 15, 2010."
"BBC Monitoring Europe, "Blast on Turkish Part of Oil Pipeline Due to System Failure," LexisNexis Academic, BBC Monitoring Europe, August 6, 2008."
"Robertson, Jordan and Michael A. Riley. "Mysterious ’08 Turkey Pipeline Blast Opened New Cyberwar," Bloomberg Business, December 10, 2014."