* Connects Rubiales oil field to Caribbean terminal
* Says pipeline has initial capacity of 60,000 barrels/day
* Capacity to increase to 160,000 barrels/day by Q1 2010
* Says total investment for the project $530 mln
Sept 14 (Reuters) - Canadian oil and gas producer Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp PRE.TO said operations started at its Oleoductos de Los Llanos pipeline (ODL) in Colombia, enabling the flow of crude from the Rubiales heavy oil field to the Caribbean export terminal of Covenas.
The pipeline, with a total investment of $530 million, was built and will be operated by ODL, a special purpose vehicle in which Columbian oil company Ecopetrol (EC.N) holds a 65 percent interest, with the remaining 35 percent held by Pacific Rubiales, the company said in a statement.
The 235 kilometre-long pipeline connects the Rubiales heavy oil field in the Los Llanos Basin to the Monterrey station in the Casanare department of Colombia, where it will connect with the OCENSA pipeline, the company said.
“With the coming on line of the ODL pipeline and the associated infrastructure field, we enter into a new phase of the development of Rubiales, reducing significantly our transport costs and eliminating the road transport restrictions,” Pacific’s Chief Executive Ronald Pantin said.
The pipeline’s initial capacity of 60,000 barrels per day will increase to 160,000 barrels per day by the first quarter of 2010, Pacific Rubiales said, and added that the pipeline may transport up to 260,000 barrels per day with further investment.
Pacific Rubiales shares closed at C$13.98 Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Koustav Samanta in Bangalore; Editing by Unnikrishnan Nair)