Colombia’s state-owned petroleum company, Ecopetrol, will pay $3.62 million to victims of a fatal pipeline explosion that left 33 dead, reported local media Monday.
The December eruption was caused by the company’s failure to carry out “timely maintenance on the pipeline,” according to a study conducted by Colombia’s Comptroller General’s Office in March.
The settlement will divide millions between 138 families affected by the tragic incident and will likely prevent a myriad of lawsuits filed against the state on December 23, 2011 from going to court.
A six-year-old girl was among the people killed when the pipeline ruptured in Dosquebradas, in the central western department of Risaralda, last December. Many homes were also destroyed.
“Ecopetrol has promoted these voluntary agreements with the victims based on the constitutional principles of solidarity and social responsibility(…),” said Deputy Inspector General Martha Isabel Castañeda.
n spite of the settlements, Ecopetrol, which is Colombia’s largest petroleum company, “does not admit any guilt in the events” after they commissioned a geotechnical study which concluded the explosion was a result of a landslide exerting pressure on the pipeline.
Colombian authorities dismissed these results and placed the blame firmly on the oil company’s shoulders.