Ecuador's OCP Pipeline Resumes Operation after Rock Fall, Spill

QUITO (Reuters) — Operations on Ecuador's private oil pipeline have resumed after repairs to damage caused by falling rocks, operator OCP Ecuador said on Tuesday.

The pipeline was damaged on Jan. 28 in the Piedra Fina zone of Ecuador's Amazon, causing an oil spill of some 6,300 barrels, the majority of which the company said it managed to recover.

The environment ministry has said OCP will face legal consequences for the spill, which occurred within a protected area.

Indigenous communities have said the spill reached the banks of the Coca river, affecting their day-to-day activities.

"We restarted the pumping in the afternoon of yesterday Monday, February 7, we have completed the repairs to the duct and we can now transport again," OCP said in a statement, adding it had collected more than 1,000 cubic meters of earth containing traces of crude.

Erosion advancing along the Coca river has caused problems for both the pipeline and the state-owned SOTE pipeline since 2020.

In December both pipelines suspended pumping, leading the government to declare force majeure on the majority of the country's oil exports and production contracts.

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