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Cleanup crews control Ecuador oil spill after pipeline rupture

Cleanup crews control Ecuador oil spill after pipeline rupture

Cleanup crews have stopped the spread of a 4,000 barrel oil spill caused when landslides hit a major pipeline, Ecuador's state oil company said Saturday.
A 160-man crew contained the spill Friday night and is now removing oil from tributaries to the nearby Quijos River by hand, Petroecuador said in a news release.
A landslide triggered by heavy rains that have battered Ecuador since mid-January destroyed 80 meters (262 feet) of a major pipeline on Thursday, dumping 4,000 barrels of crude into a swamp in a mountainous region 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Ecuador's capital, company officials said.
Petroecuador closed the pipeline and on Friday declared force majeure, a legal move allowing it to suspend oil supply obligations. But Oil Minister Galo Chiriboga insisted the company would use reserves to ensure that exports would not be affected.
A second duct that transports oil derivatives also remains closed.
Crude extracted since Thursday's rupture is being stored in Ecuador's Amazon region until the pipeline is repaired. But if those Amazon facilities, which are already half full, run out of space before the pipeline is fixed, production will be cut, the company said. Repairs began on Friday and were expected to take 72 hours.
The pipeline transports nearly 70 percent of the 511,000 barrels of crude produced daily in Ecuador, South America's fifth-largest oil producer. It runs 503 kilometers (314 miles) across the Andes from the city of Lago Agrio in the eastern Amazon to the western port of Balao.


Updated : 2021-02-27 15:18 GMT+08:00