By Alexandra Valencia
QUITO (Reuters) – The operator of Ecuador’s private oil pipeline on Friday disclosed a spill in the Andean country’s Amazon region, saying vandals damaged tubing that was no longer in service and caused an unspecified quantity of crude still in the tube to escape into the environment.
The incident, which occurred on Thursday in an area known as Piedra Fina in Ecuador’s Napo province, has not affected operations of the Heavy Crude Pipeline (OCP in its Spanish initials), company OCP Ecuador said in a statement.
The company said it “managed to control the incident and begin cleanup operations,” but did not specify how much crude had been spilled.
The OCP pipeline can carry up to 450,000 barrels of oil per day.
The area where the spill occurred has been affected by regressive erosion advancing along the Coca river since 2020, which has caused problems for both the privately operated OCP pipeline and the state-owned SOTE pipeline.
Personnel from Ecuador’s Cayambe Coca national park were working to verify the extent of any possible environmental damage, the environment ministry said.
State-run oil company Petroecuador on Sept. 25 reported what it called sabotage of its operation and disclosed issues at a remote oil well.
Petroecuador managed to contain most of the crude, it said this week, without specifying how much oil was lost, adding that it will carry out a technical cleaning of the affected zone.
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Will Dunham)