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Electricity cut at Occidental oil field in Colombia

BY DAN MOLINSKI

BOGOTA--Leftist guerrilla were being blamed wednesday for attacks on energy pylons in northeastern Colombia that cut electricity at Occidental Cano Limon oil field and state run Ecopetrol' s nearby pumping station.

Government controlled electricity grid operator ISA said the power outage occurred tuesday night. ISA said repair workers restored some electricity overnight, but it said 100 megawatts of power destined for several municipalities in the state of Arauca, as well as the OXY oil complex and the Ecopetrol pumping station, remain offline.

Discovered by Occidental in 1983, the Cano Limon field is one of Colombia' s oldest and has so far produced more than 1 bbo. Now in its mature stage, the field produced 27,000 bopd during the first six months of this year, down from 31,000 bopd in the first half of 2011. A few months ago, OXY said its lower output was due partly to an increase in rebel attacks on the Ecopetrol owned Cano Limon oil pipeline that it uses to transport its crude to shipping ports for export.

Mines and Energy Minister Mauricio Cardenas on Wednesday called the latest attacks on the energy pylons "terrorist acts." Speaking to state-run radio, Cardenas said poor civilians living in the surrounding communities suffer most from such attacks on electricity infrastructure. Occidental representatives in California weren' t immediately available for comment Wednesday.

It wasn' t clear what rebel group might have been responsible for the attacks. The main Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and ELN, both have a strong presence in the Arauca region, which borders Venezuela. Both rebel groups have long labeled foreign oil companies as military targets.

Dow Jones Newswires

08/22/2012

 

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