BOGOTA, Oct. 15 (Reuters) – Left-wing National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas in Colombia claimed responsibility for Friday morning’s attack on an oil pipeline used to transport crude to the country’s largest refinery, located in the town of Barrancabermeja.
The attack resulted in an oil spill that affected surrounding vegetation and soil, the company said in a statement. A spokesperson said a fire that broke out was then brought under control.
In a statement posted on one of its websites, the ELN said: “Our guerrilla forces have committed an act of sabotage on the La Cira Infantas pipeline used by Ecopetrol today October 15 in the Paquistan region on the road between Barrancabermeja and Bucaramanga. “
The group also took responsibility for the attacks on the La Cira Infantas oil field in September, which resulted in production from some wells being stopped.
The La Cira Infantas oil field produces around 30,000 barrels of crude per day. Production was not halted at any of the wells after Friday’s attack, a spokesperson for Ecopetrol (ECO.CN) said.
Ecopetrol, Colombia’s largest company, owns 52% of the field, while the remaining 48% is owned by SierraCol Energy.
The ELN said it wanted to “open a debate” on the use of the country’s resources, particularly oil. He said he would be ready to discuss stopping his attacks on oil infrastructure in exchange for removing road tolls and adjusting fuel costs.
Attacks on oil pipelines and other infrastructure in Colombia are common, with 28 such incidents recorded from 2021 to September. In 2020, Ecopetrol recorded 51 attacks on oil infrastructure.
“Ecopetrol rejects violent actions by third parties against the pipeline,” the company said in a statement.
Peace talks between the ELN – which was founded by radical Catholic priests in 1964 – and the Colombian government were frozen after a rebel bombing killed 22 student police officers in 2019.
Reporting by Oliver Griffin Editing by Paul Simao and Rosalba O’Brien
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