Just one week after it was reopened following a similar attack in March, Colombia’s largest oil pipeline has once again been ruptured, allegedly at the hands of guerrillas in the northeast of the country.
Caracol Radio reported Friday that guerrilla forces launched an attack against the Caño Limon Coveñas pipeline, Colombia’s largest oil pipeline, which runs east-to-west through the northeastern Catatumbo region.
Guerrilla forces allegedly triggered explosives along one of the pipeline’s rural sections, causing a rupture and subsequent oil spill near one of the area’s most important tributaries, according to Caracol Radio.
The state-owned oil giant, Ecopetrol, that owns the pipeline is said to have activated a contingency plan that seeks to limit widespread contamination and protect the region’s water supplies.
Pumping restarted through Colombia’s longest oil pipeline last week, nearly two months after it was damaged in an attack allegedly perpetrated by the country’s second-largest rebel group, the ELN.
“The pumping was restored Sunday after they completed repair work,” a source from oil company the Ecopetrol, the pipeline’s owner, told Reuters.
Oil is Colombia’s largest export and an important source of tax revenue and royalties: the economy sustained losses of $8 million per day of the pipeline’s inactivity, reported Colombian financial magazine Dinero. This totaled a loss of $496 million to the country’s output.
The paralysis of the Caño Limon pipeline was reportedly the main reason why the Colombian economy failed to meet its target of producing a million barrels a day in March and April.
The attack was allegedly perpetrated by Colombia’s second-largest rebel group, ELN. They declared war on the multinationals and oil companies for “plundering” the country’s natural resources in November 2013.
Both the FARC and ELN maintain an active presence within the region in question, and have been known to target energy infrastructure. Neither group has taken responsibility for the attacks.
- Nuevo atentado al oleoducto Caño Limón Coveñas en el Catatumbo (Caracol Radio)