Marxist Rebel Bombings Send Colombia Oil Output to 20-Month Low

Colombian crude production sank to a 20-month low in April as Marxist rebel attacks and community protests curbed output amid continuing peace talks in Havana.

Oil production last month averaged 935,000 barrels per day, according to a government statement yesterday, the lowest since August 2012. Output slumped as repairs to the country’s second-largest pipeline following a March 25 rebel attack were prevented by the indigenous U’wa group.

Paralysis at the Cano Limon-Covenas duct, which takes oil from eastern Colombia to the Caribbean coast, forced producers including state-controlled Ecopetrol SA to restrict output as storage ran out. Oil is Colombia’s biggest export and a key source of revenue for the government.

There were 33 pipeline attacks in the first quarter of this year and a total of 259 in 2013, as Colombia’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, seeks to strengthen its hand at the negotiating table. The smaller National Liberation Army, or ELN, active in the east of the country, is also seeking to underline its relevance.

Technicians are working to fix Cano Limon after the government reached a deal last week with the forest-dwelling U’wa who had demanded the pipeline be re-routed, citing environmental concerns.

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