BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s majority state-owned oil company Ecopetrol denounced on Sunday the sabotage of 31 wells at an oil field in the northeast of the country, which put the wells offline and led to oil being spilled.
The acts of sabotage took place at Ecopetrol’s ECO.CN La Cira-Infantas oil field, near the city of Barrancabermeja, which produces around 35,000 barrels of oil a day.
As well as the acts of sabotage, security guards and workers at the field received threats from hooded aggressors to abandon their posts and join a blockade which started five days ago, Ecopetrol said in a statement.
The damage to the wells led to oil being spilled, putting local communities and the environment at risk, the company said in the statement.
Ecopetrol called on those behind the blockade to suspend attacks and said it was open to talks to review their requests alongside the local mayor’s office and the attorney general’s office.
Energy companies in Colombia often see operations become targets of protesters from nearby towns demanding the hiring of local workers, as well as investments in health, education and roads.
Ecopetrol is the largest company in Colombia and produces the majority of the Andean country’s oil. It owns two of the most important refineries in the country and most of the oil pipelines.
Reporting by Oliver Griffin and Luis Jaime Acosta; Editing by Daniel Wallis