The gas pipeline linking Algeria to Italy via Tunisia has been blown up by unknown attackers in Tunisia, the Tunisian Ministry of Interior has said in a statement.
The ministry said that the explosion occurred on Monday evening near the village of Bouachira, in the province of Zeghouan, northern Tunisia.
The trans-Mediterranean pipeline delivers 33 billion cubic metres of natural gas to the Italian market, and links Algeria to Italy.
The ministry said in its statement that “investigations are underway to track down and arrest the perpetuators of this criminal act. This act of sabotage was likely an attempt to destroy this national facility.”
German DPA news agency has quoted a well informed source as saying that “unknown people attempted to blow up the pipeline with remote control bombs.”
However, the attack appears to have largely failed. A spokesman for Italian oil company Eni told Reuters news agency that "Eni confirms gas flows as normal."
Reuters has further quoted an official in Algeria's energy sector, who did not want to be identified, as saying that "The pipeline is functioning as normal and we have not been notified of any incident."
Algeria has provided natural gas to Italy since 1983 through the 775 km Transmed pipeline. It also has two other pipelines linking Algeria to Spain, one via Morocco and the second is a subsea pipeline.