Colombia's Ecopetrol halts major pipeline after rebel bomb attack

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombian state-run oil company Ecopetrol has halted pumping on the country’s second-biggest oil pipeline after a bombing attributed to the ELN rebel group sent crude spilling into a river late on Tuesday afternoon.

The attack on a section of the 485-mile (780 km) Cano-Limon Covenas pipeline occurred in Saravena municipality in Arauca province, near the border with Venezuela, and is the 14th such attack this year, Ecopetrol said in statement on Wednesday.

Oil exports were proceeding as normal, the company said.

Military sources blamed the bombing on the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group, which frequently attacks oil infrastructure in the country.

The government and the ELN announced in March they would soon begin formal peace talks in Ecuador after over two years of preliminary negotiations.

Cano-Limon 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.

Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Nelson Bocanegra Editing by W Simon