Ecopetrol Adopts Contingency Plan After NYE Attacks

Colombia's state oil company Ecopetrol has activated a contingency plan after three terrorist attacks on oil installations on New Year's Eve in order to minimize damage to the environment and rivers in the country's southwestern Putumayo department, the company said in a statement.

Eight wells and three pipelines all operated by Ecopetrol were affected by the attack late on December 31 and early on January 1, the statement said.

The contingency plan consists of suspending use of the oil pipelines, constructing barriers to control contamination and informing local Amazon communities how to take precautions, an Ecopetrol spokesperson told BNamericas.

The plan has been jointly adopted by the regional committee for disaster prevention and control (Crepad), the government agency in charge of sustainable development (Corpoamazonia) and the armed forces, the spokesperson said.

The wells have a total production of 282 barrels a day (b/d) and are currently producing at capacity, while the pipelines will remain unused until the military secures the area and technicians can enter to repair the damage, an Ecopetrol spokesperson told BNamericas.

The pipelines Manso Ja Orito, San Miguel Orito and Transandina transport oil from Orito in the west of Pucumayo department to the Pacific port city of Tumaco for shipping to Cartagena for export. The Orito pipelines have capacity of 15,000b/d each, while Transandina has capacity of 52,000b/d, the spokesperson said.

Ecopetrol does not yet know the extent of the contamination in the Sucio, Guamuéz and Putumayo rivers which stretch a total 100km.

The Transandina spill of about 10,000 barrels is expected to have been significantly larger than the others and the pipeline will also take longer to repair, the spokesperson said.

"We won't have a shortage [of crude for export] because luckily we have provisions, so we currently have no problems with supply to the area, any shortages being registered there or any pending shipping delays," the spokesperson said.

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