June 5, 2019 / 2:55 AM / 3 months ago

Ecopetrol closes section of pipeline after oil found in Colombia river

BOGOTA, June 4 (Reuters) - Colombia’s state-run oil company Ecopetrol said late on Tuesday it closed the valves on a section of its Cano Limon pipeline in central Boyaca province after crude oil was detected in a local river.

The 485-mile (780-km) pipeline was not pumping when the oil was detected, the company said in a statement, but people in the area around the Cobaria river should not drink water.

The causes of the incident are unclear, Ecopetrol said, and it is sending a technical team to investigate. It added the area has recently been affected by heavy rains and rising river levels.

Pipelines in the Andean country are regularly bombed in attacks generally attributed to the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group.

There have been more than two dozen attacks on Colombian pipelines so far in 2019. Cano Limon was hit more than 80 times in 2018, which kept it offline for most of the year. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; editing by Darren Schuettler)

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