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Colombia Struggles To Resolve Oil Standoff With Native Tribes

The Colombian government is seeking to resolve a conflict with native tribes after attacks on an oil pipeline curtailed production.

Government officials planned to meet with members of the U’wa Indians on April 25 to try and negotiate access to repair the pipeline, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Cano Limon pipeline owned by state-owned oil company Ecopetrol normally carries 72,000 barrels per day, but it has been offline for over a month. Leftist rebels attacked it on March 25, blowing up a section of the pipeline.

The explosion occurred on U’wa land, and the tribe refused to allow repair crews onto their land to fix the pipeline because they said they are fed up with oil pollution.

“We are tired of the explosions on the pipeline that have ruined our ancestral lands, polluted our water and put our people in danger. We want it relocated,” a spokesman for the U'wa Association, told the commodity news site Platts in a telephone interview.

The unrepaired pipeline remains offline and the government says it has lost more than $136 million in revenue. Some 500 oil workers have been temporarily laid off.

Related Article: Canada’s Indigenous First Nations Threaten $600 Billion in Energy Deals

Attacks on pipelines are common in Columbia country and the 480-mile Cano Limon pipeline offers a big target for would-be saboteurs. The pipeline was temporarily forced to shut down last October after multiple explosions.

Oil production makes up the core of Colombia’s revenues and the country has almost doubled its oil production over the past decade, to more than 1 million barrels per day.

It is now Latin America’s fourth largest oil producer.

By Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



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