| BOGOTA, March 1
BOGOTA, March 1 Crude oil production at the Cano
Limon field, operated by US-based Occidental Petroleum Corp
in northern Colombia, is being gradually suspended after
an escalation of rebel attacks on its pipeline, military and oil
industry sources said on Wednesday.
The Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline, which transports crude from
the fields to a port in the Caribbean Sea for export, has been
suspended since Feb. 15 because of a series of bomb attacks
attributed by the military to the National Liberation Army
(ELN), a Marxist rebel group.
"At the moment 44 of 370 wells are reported shut down,
storage capacity is at its peak," a senior military official,
who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
Occidental did not immediately respond to calls in Colombia
The Cano Limon deposit, in Arauca province near the border
with Venezuela, produces around 50,000 barrels per day. The
485-mile (780km) pipeline can carry up to 210,000 barrels per
Attacks by the ELN on oil infrastructure have been frequent
during the group's five-decade war with the government. This
year there have been 17 attacks on the pipeline and there were
43 last year, causing oil spills and environmental damage.
Colombia's conflict, which pit government troops against the
ELN, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and
right-wing paramilitary groups, has killed more than 220,000
people and displaced millions.
President Juan Manuel Santos and the ELN last month launched
formal peace negotiations in Ecuador, but the group has stepped
up its attacks since. The group claimed responsibility for a
bomb attack in Bogota last month that injured dozens of police
The ELN has about 2,000 combatants and opposes the presence
of multinational companies in the mining and oil sector,
claiming that they seize natural resources without leaving
benefits to the country's population or economy.
The FARC, the biggest rebel group in the South American
country, agreed to a peace accord with the government late last
(Writing by Helen Murphy)