ELN Attacks Colombia’s Second-Largest Oil Pipeline Again

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By Zainab Calcuttawala, Oilprice.com

Marxist rebels from the ELN attacked Colombia’s second-largest crude pipeline over the weekend, causing a complete halt in its flow, according to military and Ecopetrol sources that spoke to Reuters on Tuesday.

The Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline is operated by the American oil company Occidental Petroleum. The 485-mile facility was attacked in rural lands located in the Saravena municipality, but exports and an associated oilfield were not affected.

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has attacked oil infrastructure frequently over the 50 years. Ecopetrol says there have been 32 bombings in 2017 so far, causing varying amounts of environmental carnage.

A series of bombings left Caño Limón-Coveñas offline for seven weeks between February 15 and April 5, one of the longest periods of suspended crude flow since the pipeline became operational in 1986.

Due to attacks on Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline, Colombia lost 893,000 barrels of oil production — more than what the country pumps in one day — between January and mid-March, according to Ecopetrol.

In October, Colombian military authorities believed the ELN was behind a previous bombing of the 220,000-bpd Caño Limón-Coveñas line. The Bicentenario pipeline, which carries another 120,000 bpd, also had to shut down as a result of the assault.

The ELN and its 2,000 fighters stand against multinational oil companies, which, they argue, take over natural resource industries without fairly compensating the inhabitants of those countries.

Last year, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos sealed a peace deal with FARC, which would allow new investments in the South American countries oil industry. The Colombia oil industry association said the nation needs $70 billion in investments to keep oil production alive over the next decade.

According to the EIA, Colombia has 600 million barrels of recoverable tight oil reserves and 54.7 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas reserves.

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