Colombia pipeline ‘shut by bomb attack’

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Bogota - A bomb attack blamed on Colombia's leftist guerrillas has shut down the key Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline, a source at state-run oil company Ecopetrol which owns the pipeline, said on Thursday.

The explosion took place on a stretch of the 780km pipeline in Norte de Santander province which borders Venezuela, the source said, adding the pipeline was likely to be running again in a few days if security conditions permit.

Ecopetrol was not available for comment after normal business hours.

The pipeline has capacity to transport 220 000 barrels per day of crude but typically handles around 80 000. It runs to the Covenas port on the Caribbean coast and also transports crude extracted by US oil producer Occidental Petroleum.

It was restarted on May 25 after a two-month shutdown due to a series of bomb attacks in the same province. A blockade mounted by the U'wa indigenous population who live near the site of one of those explosions delayed repairs which are usually completed a few days after attacks take place.

Colombia is Latin America's fourth-biggest oil producer with daily output of around 1 million barrels. Bomb attacks by the country's leftist guerrillas are frequent, with around five per week on average in 2013. - Reuters

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