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The Transandino oil pipeline was bombed on Sunday, Ecopetrol has announced, noting that the 85,000-bpd piece of infrastructure was not carrying oil at the time.
Per a Reuters report, the attack on the pipeline has yet to be attributed to any one group but the area where the blast occurred is known for activity from the National Liberation Army, a guerilla group, and FARC—another guerilla army that has rejected a peace deal with the Colombian government.
FARC is the biggest guerilla formation in Colombia and although a certain percentage of its members demilitarized after the 2016 deal with the government, the majority remained active.
Guerilla activity has had a devastating effect on Colombia’s oil industry, with the head of the country’s industry association estimating back in 2016 that it would take $70 billion to keep the industry going over the ten years to 2026.
Meanwhile, the current president of Colombia wants to shrink the country’s oil production in anticipation of peak oil demand and the energy transition. As things stand today, Colombia’s oil industry does not have a very long life anyway, even at current rates of production, which average about 700,000 bpd.
Even so, the new chief executive of Ecopetrol said this week that the company plans to improve exploration results by using the latest technology available, including AI.
This, according to Ricardo Roa, could boost Colombia’s oil output to 1 million barrels daily, Reuters reported. Recovery rates could improve by at least 2 percent, Roa also said, from the current unimpressive 19 percent.
Meanwhile, however, the challenges that guerilla groups pose to infrastructure remain. Ecopetrol loses thousands of barrels of crude from thieves who siphon off crude from the Transandino pipeline to use in the production of cocaine or as fuel for illegal mining, Reuters reported after the latest spill caused by oil theft.
By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com
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Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com and Oilprice.com,