Colombia Pipeline Bombing Takes 210,000 Bpd Off The Market

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By Irina Slav, Oilprice.com

A bombing of the Cano Limon oil pipeline in Colombia has led to the suspension of crude flow, sources from Ecopetrol and Colombia’s army told Reuters. Leftist militant group ELN was behind the attack, the sources said, who declined to be identified ahead of an official announcement.

Some crude oil spilled as a result of the bombing in a nearby river, the sources added.

Cano Limon is Colombia’s second-biggest oil pipeline, with a daily capacity of 210,000 bpd, which carries crude oil from the Cano Limon field near the border with Venezuela to a refinery on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The Cano Limon field and the 780-km pipeline are jointly operated by Ecopetrol and Occidental Petroleum.

The attack against the Cano Limon infrastructure is the latest in a string of bombings over a period of 17 years, resulting in 167 deaths and the spilling of a total 66 million gallons of crude, Reuters notes, citing figures from Ecopetrol. Because of the attacks, the Cano Limon pipeline has been shut down for almost a third of its life so far.

The government and ELN, or the National Liberation Army, started peace talks early this year, but this has not stopped the ELN from attacking oil infrastructure. The organization, which is considered a terrorist group by the U.S. and the EU, is against any foreign oil company operating in Colombia, on the grounds that they exploit Colombia’s natural resources without benefit to the local population.

The ELN is not the only militant group active in Colombia: FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, warred with the government for decades before last year they signed a peace treaty that led thousands of guerilla fighters to turn in their weapons and return to civilian life, which is good news for the industry—in theory. In practice, potential investors are likely to adopt a wait-and-see attitude to ensure the peace deal will hold as attacks from militants on oil infrastructure continue.

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