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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Colombia rebel attacks kill 4, shut oil pipeline

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - Marxist rebels on Wednesday killed two Colombian soldiers and two workers trying to repair the country's second-biggest pipeline, which was shut down earlier this week after guerrilla attacks, army sources told Reuters.

The 780 km (480 mile) Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline stopped pumping oil on Sunday after a series of attacks by leftist rebels, army sources said.

The pipeline pumps oil extracted from the Cano Limon field that is operated by U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum. The oilfield's output, which is around 60,000 barrel of oil per day, is also shared with Colombia's state oil company Ecopetrol and Spain's Repsol YPF.

An Ecopetrol official said oil production and exports were not affected by the shutdown and the pipeline will be fully repaired in a couple of days.

On Wednesday, guerrillas used explosives to kill two workers trying to repair the pipeline and two army soldier escorting them.

The pipeline has been frequently attacked by rebel groups opposed to foreign investment in Colombia's oil sector, although attacks have declined in recent years.

The Colombian government and left-wing guerrillas have been embroiled in a four decade war that has killed thousands and displaced millions from their homes.
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