Colombia: protest, rebel attacks depress oil output

Colombian crude production sank to a 20-month low of 935,000 barrels per day in April as guerilla attacks and community protests curbed output. Technicians from parastatal Ecopetrol were barred for over a month by indigenous protesters from repairing the Caño-Limon pipeline after it was damaged in a March 25 guerilla attack. Ecopetrol was forced to declare force majeure on at least 25 delivery contracts due to the stoppage. U'wa indigenous at Toledo municipality, Norte de Santander, agreed to lift their blockade May 1 after the Mines & Energy Ministry agreed to suspend  the nearby Magallanes gas exploration project to evaluate its environmental impacts and to despatch a team to demarcate the boundaries of U'wa territory. But the very next day, the pipeline was blown up again, at Cubará muncipality, Boyacá. The first attack was attributed to the FARC rebels, now in talks with the government. The second one was blamed on the ELN guerillas, which may be hoping to pressure the government to similarly open talks with them. There were 33 pipeline attacks in the first quarter of this year and a total of 259 in 2013. (UDW, May 28; El Tiempo, May 8; InfoSur Hoy, Bloomberg, May 6; EBR, May 5; Reuters, May 2)

  1. U’wa declare victory over Oxy

    The Association of U'wa Traditional Authorities and Councils (ASOU'WAS) declared a victory over the Magallanes project, writing in a Feb. 4 communiqué: "The U'wa people would like to inform national and international public opinion that the Magallanes gas exploration block has been completely dismantled. Ecopetrol S.A. has removed all the machinery that had been found there in a demonstration of respect for our rights as an indigenous people." (Amazon Watch)