Chamber: Colombia Oil Sector Hurt by Torrential Rains

BOGOTA - Heavy rains in Colombia's southern, oil-producing region of Putumayo are hampering oil activities there, the Colombian Oilfield Services Chamber known as Campetrol said in a statement Monday.

"Flooding in Putumayo is affecting the oil sector," Campetrol said in a Twitter message, without providing further details.

The chamber's website showed photos of what appeared to be an oil-tanker truck trying to slowly navigate through streets flooded with muddy water reaching halfway to the top of the truck.

Nearly 70,000 people in the state of Putumayo, located along the Ecuador border, have been forced from their homes in recent days due to the rains and floods.

Campetrol, citing a regional disaster prevention agency, said the banks of the Putumayo River and others have been overrun, "causing a large part of the state's infrastructure to disappear."

Companies that produce oil in the Putumayo region include state-run Ecopetrol, Canada-based Petrominerales Ltd. and Gran Tierra Energy Inc.

None of the three oil companies were immediately available for comment.

The flooding comes as oil sector also faces the challenge of rising attacks on infrastructure by leftist guerrillas that is slowing down production.

Alleged rebels used explosives to attack two important oil pipelines over the weekend. Rebels are also blamed for demolishing a bridge in the Putumayo region used by oil companies.

Colombian oil production fell to 934,000 barrels a day in June, down 0.5% from that month of 2011 and nearly 3% lower than its record monthly production average of 962,000 barrels a day in November of last year.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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