Colombia's Cano Limon pipeline hit by leftist ELN rebel attack

BOGOTA, Sept 5 (Reuters) - A leftist rebel bomb attack has halted pumping operations along Colombia’s second most important oil pipeline, the Cano-Limon Covenas, state oil company Ecopetrol said on Monday.

The attack by National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas occurred on Saturday in a rural area of northern Norte de Santander province, close to the border with Venezuela, the company said.

The incident did not halt production or exports.

The 485-mile (780 km) pipeline has the capacity to transport up to 210,000 barrels of crude daily from oil fields operated by U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum to the Caribbean port of Covenas.

Attacks on oil installations by the ELN, a group of about 1,500 combatants, have been a frequent occurrence during a conflict that has taken more than 220,000 lives and displaced millions over the past 52 years.

President Juan Manuel Santos sought to begin peace talks with the ELN in March, but negotiations have stalled until the group frees all its hostages.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the biggest rebel group in the South American country, agreed to a peace accord with the government on Aug. 24.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Tom Brown