Occidental’s Colombia Woes Prolonged as Pipeline Outage Persists

  • Rain, security situation hampering pipeline repairs: union
  • Three fields operated by company halted since July 15: union

Occidental Petroleum Corp. will have to wait at least a few more days to resume production at three Colombian fields amid delays in fixing a pipeline attacked by guerrillas.

Repairs to the Cano Limon line, halted since July 4, are now scheduled to finish in the middle of next week, according to Humberto Alvarez, an official at the country’s main oil workers union, known as USO. The union previously expected the conduit to come back online this week.

Production at three Occidental-operated fields that produce a combined 56,000 barrels a day -- Cano Limon, Chipiron and Caricare -- has been halted since July 15 after the company ran out of storage space, Alvarez said. Melissa Schoeb, a spokeswoman for the Houston-based producer, declined to comment.

“It now seems the pipeline won’t restart until next week,” Alvarez said by phone Friday. “The region where they are doing the repairs is dangerous and has bad roads, and it’s raining a lot there at the moment.”

The Cano Limon pipeline, the country’s second-largest, is operated by state-controlled Ecopetrol SA, transporting oil from eastern Colombia to the Caribbean coast for export. Producers using the Bicentenario line, which feeds into Cano Limon, may also be affected, Alvarez said. Ecopetrol and Pacific Exploration & Production Corp. didn’t immediately respond to requests for information.

— With assistance by Lucia Kassai

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