(Recasts with National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas taking
responsibility for attacks)
BOGOTA, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Left-wing guerrillas from the
National Liberation Army (ELN) in Colombia have claimed
responsibility for a Friday morning attack against a pipeline
used to transport crude to the country's most important
refinery, located in the city of Barrancabermeja.
The attack resulted in an oil spill which affected
surrounding vegetation and soil, the company said in a
statement. A spokesman said that a fire that had broken out was
later brought under control.
In a statement posted on one of its websites, the ELN said:
"Our guerrilla forces carried out 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
The group also took responsibility for attacks against the
La Cira Infantas oil field in September, which resulted in
production at some of the wells being halted.
The La Cira Infantas oil field produces around 30,000
barrels of crude per day. Production was not stopped at any of
the wells following the attack on Friday, an Ecopetrol
Ecopetrol, Colombia's largest company, owns 52% of the
field, while the remaining 48% belongs to SierraCol Energy.
The ELN said it wanted to "open a debate" on the use of the
country's resources, in particular oil. It said it would be
willing to discuss halting its attacks against oil
infrastructure in exchange for eliminating road tolls and
adjusting fuel costs.
Attacks against oil pipelines and other infrastructure in
Colombia are common, with 28 such incidents recorded in 2021
through September. In 2020, Ecopetrol recorded 51 oil
"Ecopetrol rejects violent actions committed 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 Colombia's government were put on
ice after a rebel bombing killed 22 police cadets in 2019.
(Reporting by Oliver Griffin
Editing by Paul Simao and Rosalba O'Brien)