Ecopetrol: Colombia's Cano Limon Pipeline Halted After Rebel Attack

BOGOTA - Colombia's second-longest oil pipeline, the 480-mile Cano Limon, has stopped pumping after rebels reportedly used dynamite to blow up a portion of the line.

A statement from state oil company Ecopetrol SA, which owns and operates the pipeline, said the attack occurred Wednesday near the village of Guachiman, in the northern state of Norte de Santander, which borders Venezuela. Pumping will remain halted until repair crews can fix the damage, an Ecopetrol representative said Friday.

The Cano Limon can carry more than 200,000 barrels of crude oil a day to the shipping ports for export, but over the past several years it has only been transporting about 70,000 barrels a day. The pipeline is used by Ecopetrol and California-based Occidental Petroleum Corp., which jointly own the Cano Limon field in northeastern Colombia.

Colombia's two largest rebel groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and the National Liberation Army, or ELN, are both active in the remote region where the pipeline is located. No group has yet claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack.

The FARC, Colombia's main rebel group, is involved in six-month-old peace talks with the government. The ELN has expressed a desire to also enter peace talks but so far nothing has officially begun.

Bombing attacks on oil pipelines, once very common in Colombia, began to decline over the past several years as a military offensive reduced the firepower of both rebel groups. But in 2013 there's been a renewed uptick in pipeline attacks, with 72 bombings during the first three months, nearly twice as many as the 38 registered during that period of 2012, according the data from the Defense Ministry.

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


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