Colombia oil pipeline paralyzed by rebel attack

July 12, Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:08pm EDT

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July 12, (Reuters) - - Pumping of oil from one of Colombia's most important pipelines, the Bicentenario, was paralyzed after an attack by leftist rebels, its operator said on Saturday.

The attack took place on Friday near the municipality of Fortul, in Arauca province, on the border with Venezuela. There were no injuries.

The pipeline, jointly run by a group led by state oil company Ecopetrol and Pacific Rubiales, has capacity to transport 110,000 barrels a day along its 230 kilometers (144 miles) from oil fields in Colombia's eastern plains to the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline.

The company did not provide an estimate for restarting operations. The pipeline crosses areas where there is a strong presence of the two main rebel groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and the National Liberation Army, or ELN.

Neither the company nor military sources said which armed group was behind the attack.

Colombia is the fourth-largest producer of oil in Latin America, but its output has been reduced by heavy attacks in recent months by the insurgent groups. There were 259 attacks on oil installations in 2013, the highest number in a decade.

Even though the FARC is engaged in peace talks with the government, attacks have continued against economic and military targets.

President Juan Manuel Santos, who was this month reelected to a second term, is also seeking peace talks with the ELN.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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