BOGOTA, June 17 (Reuters) - Colombia’s Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline, the country’s second biggest by volume, has been shut due to damage from bomb attacks by leftist FARC rebels that caused a significant spill that has contaminated a nearby river, the army said on Wednesday.
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels, known as FARC, have intensified attacks on infrastructure in the past few weeks after calling off a unilateral ceasefire. They have attacked pipelines and trucks carrying crude oil, as well as damaging electrical transmission lines, cutting power to large towns.
The halting of the 780-km (485 mile) Cano Limon pipeline, which has suffered dozens of attacks in recent years that usually take several days to repair, will not immediately affect Colombia’s crude exports as there are adequate stocks at ports.
A source at U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum Corp, whose crude is transported through the pipeline, said its production operations have not been affected. The attacks took place near the Venezuelan border in Norte de Santander province.
The pipeline has capacity to transport 210,000 barrels of crude per day from the northeastern province of Arauca to the Caribbean coast.
State-run oil company Ecopetrol, which operates the Cano Limon pipeline through its Cenit subsidiary, said last week the bombing of another pipeline in the southwest spilled between 3,000 and 4,000 barrels of crude into a river there. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Peter Galloway)