January 31, 2019 / 5:54 PM / 17 days ago

Colombia's Ecopetrol contains fire on Trasandino pipeline

BOGOTA, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Colombia’s state-run oil company Ecopetrol has put out a fire on a section of the Trasandino oil pipeline sparked when “criminals” attempted to install an illegal valve for stealing crude, the company said on Thursday.

The pipeline, which was damaged in a bomb attack this month, was not functioning at the time of the blaze, the company said in a statement.

The fire, on a part of the pipeline located in southwestern Narino province, has been contained and did not cause harm to any people or to nearby waterways, Ecopetrol said.

The 306-km (190-mile) Trasandino has capacity to transport about 85,000 barrels of crude daily from oil fields in Putumayo province to the Pacific port of Tumaco, where it is exported.

Pipelines in Colombia are the frequent targets of bombings by the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels, which frequently keep pumping stopped for weeks at a time.

Some 924 illegal valves were detected on the Trasandino in 2018, Ecopetrol said. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb Editing by Helen Murphy and Diane Craft)

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