QUITO, April 12 Ecuador's OCP pipeline has begun
pumping crude again after going offline for almost four days
following a breakage, the company said on Friday.
The energy ministry said the breakage of the Heavy Crude Oil
Pipeline, known as OCP, was unlikely to disrupt exports because
two export terminals in the Pacific coast had 2.6 million
barrels of crude stocks, which were enough to cover forthcoming
OCP is a 475-kilometer (300-mile) pipeline with a capacity
of up to 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) that links oil fields in
the eastern Sucumbios region to the Pacific coast. The pipeline
transports around 150,000 bpd.
The pipeline suspended operations after fracturing on Monday
spilling 5,500 barrels of oil in farming areas in the
north-western Esmeraldas region. OCP Ecuador, the company that
runs the pipeline, said it may need until August to clean up the
"Last night at 11:56 pm (556 GMT) crude pumping in the
pipeline resumed after the damaged section of the pipe was
replaced," OCP Ecuador said in a statement.
The incident was initially blamed on geological factors
after heavy rains loosened the soil in the area.
Ecuador is OPEC's smallest member and last year produced an
average of 504,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
OCP is controlled by several oil companies, including
Spain's Repsol, France's Perenco and Brazil's Petrobras
The Andean country's largest pipeline, known as Sote,
transports crude oil produced by state-run company
Petroamazonas, which aims to produce 325,000 bpd on average this
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Eduardo Garcia;
editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)