BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s state-run oil company Ecopetrol SA has halted pumping on its Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline because of a bomb attack, the company said on Saturday.
The attack took place on Friday evening in a rural area in Saravena municipality, in Arauca province near the border with Venezuela.
Ecopetrol, which owns the pipeline via its subsidiary Cenit, did not attribute the attack to a specific armed group. However, according to military sources, the pipeline has been attacked nearly 60 times this year by the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s remaining active guerrilla group.
“The incident caused a spillage of crude into vegetation and soil, without affecting water sources, and reached part of a tertiary road that provides alternative access from Saravena to Tame municipality,” Ecopetrol said in a statement.
Despite the stoppage of the pipeline, which can transport up to 210,000 barrels per day, production and exports from the Cano Limon field, operated by Occidental Petroleum Corp, were unaffected.
The 485-mile (780-km) pipeline was stopped for six months earlier this year because of repeated attacks and crude theft, before restarting on July 10.
The ELN, considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, has about 1,500 combatants and opposes multinational companies, claiming they seize natural resources without benefiting Colombians.
Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; editing by Jonathan Oatis