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Colombia Tries to Contain Oil Spill After Rebels Bomb Pipeline

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Colombia's state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol said Friday it's trying to contain an oil spill in northern Colombia after rebels attacked the country's second-longest crude oil pipeline.

Ecopetrol "has implemented its contingency plan to control the oil that has spilled into the Margua river," the company said in a statement. "Ecopetrol emphatically rejects these terrorist attacks that impact the environment."

The dynamite attack on the Cano Limon pipeline, which is owned by Ecopetrol and used by both Ecopetrol and Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum (OXY), happened Thursday night in the Norte de Santander state, which borders Venezuela.

It wasn't clear which rebel group is responsible for the attack. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is typically blamed for such bombings, but the group, which is in peace talks with the government, recently declared a cease-fire on all attacks until Jan. 20. It has been accused, however, of breaking the cease-fire several times.

Another rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, also attacks oil pipelines in the region and it is not involved in any peace talks.

An increase in oil-pipeline bombings earlier this year caused Colombia's total oil production levels to drop. But the attacks have been few and far between in recent months, allowing Colombia's oil production to rebound and reach record levels in recent weeks of about 1 million barrels a day.

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

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