Columbia's 780 - km Cano Limon – Covenas has been attacked yet again for the 78th time this year. And while it had been out of service to better repair the pipeline after a similar attack just a few months ago, there was still considerable damage to the environment.
Columbia has struggled for years to combat perceived National Liberation Army (ELN) attacks on its hydrocarbon infrastructure. The rebel group contends that the country is selling out its national resources to multinational companies and demands a re-think.
The ELN, a Marxist organization, considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, has some 1500 members. It is open to negotiations, but the government has set preconditions before any talks begin, namely the release of all hostages and the cessation of all attacks on the national petroleum infrastructure.
Last year, Columbia produced an average of a little over 850,000 bpd of crude. Reserves are estimated at 1.782 billion barrels, but a recent study from the Columbian Petroleum Association estimated the development of unconventional oil reserves in the country could generate an additional US$500 million annually.