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Colombian Oil Field Shuts Down After Threats, Attacks on Facility

The Cubiro oilfield in northern Colombia was shut down on Monday after a series of threats and attacks against the facility’s workers, the company said.

The National Liberation Army recently restarted attacks on Colombia’s oil infrastructure as peace talks with Bogota fall apart. National output fell by 3.59 percent year-over-year last year due to operational challenges from the militia, as well as judicial efforts to end all natural resource-extraction based industries.

The latest target, Cubiro, produces 3,600 barrels per day.

“Unfortunately excessive demands by a minority group of people in San Luis de Palenque, a group that does not represent the municipality’s leaders or the community, have forced the company to make this decision,” Frontera said in an emailed statement, according to E&P Magazine. Some workers had been injured, but the company did not say how or when the workers got hurt.

Frontera will not be ready to negotiate reopening the facility until its workers are no longer under threat, the company said.

Since it was inaugurated in 1986, the Caño Limón–Coveñas pipeline, operated by state-owned company Ecopetrol, has been targeted at least 1,000 times. According to Ecopetrol, more than 43,000 thousand barrels of crude oil have been spilled into the Arauca basin since 2000 – which explains why it’s colloquially referred to as ‘the flute’.

It took the National Liberation Army (ELN) less than six hours to dynamite the pipeline after the government-brokered ceasefire expired on January 9th. Five days later, video-footage released by local media outlets show ELN operatives kidnapping an Ecopetrol engineer from his office in Saravena, Arauca. These strings of attacks not only take a human toll, but also serve as the worst kind of publicity for a country that continues to attempt to rebrand itself as an attractive base of foreign investment.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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