Colombia oil pipeline crippled again

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Colombia oil pipeline crippled again Wednesday November 22, 11:54 AM EST BOGOTA, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Colombia's second-largest crude oil export pipeline remained closed Wednesday following the latest attack two days ago in a record-breaking campaign of bombings by Marxist rebels, state oil company Ecopetrol said.

A company spokesman said the 220,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) capacity pipeline has been shut down since 4:30 p.m. (2130 GMT) Monday when a guerrilla bomb ruptured flow 54 miles (86 km) west of the Cano Limon oil field, operated by U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY).

The pipeline had just reopened ten hours earlier, after repairs to another section blasted in a dynamite attack over the weekend.

The Ecopetrol spokesman said exports from the Cano Limon field were unlikely to be affected by the latest bombing, since ample supplies of the field's crude were in storage at the Caribbean lifting terminal of Covenas.

But he added that repairs to the shattered pipeline had yet to begin as rebels forces were reported in the area.

Back-to-back attacks on the 490-mile (780 km) pipeline forced Occidental to cut Cano Limon output to just 26,000 bpd in October, from targeted production of about 115,000 bpd, an official at the U.S. company said.

The pipeline has long been a favorite target for sabotage by Colombia's two main leftist guerrilla groups, which bomb it to protest what they see as the excessive foreign involvement in Colombia's oil industry.

The pipeline was blown up a record 79 times in 1999, but so far this year it has been hit at least 89 attacks. Continued sabotage to the pipeline has caused massive oil spills costing the government and Occidental hundreds of millions of dollars, industry sources say.

Ecopetrol could not confirm when repairs to the pipeline would begin. 2000 Reuters Limited.

http://money.iwon.com/jsp/nw/nwdt_rt.jsp?section=news&news_id=reu-n22174169&feed=reu&date=20001122&cat=INDUSTRY

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), November 22, 2000


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