The rupture of an oil pipeline in a sector of the Amazon Ecuadorian affected by a process of soil erosion, this Friday generated an oil spill in a large mountainous area, which generated concern in the population.
The private company Oleoductos de Crudos Pesados (OCP) confirmed that the breakdown occurred in the Piedra Fina river sector, in the San Luis area, where a natural regressive erosion process and a sinkhole have been registered, a phenomenon that forced to change the direction of several pipelines for transporting oil and derivatives.
The OCP company indicated that the mishap occurred after the fall of rocks on the pipe in an area near the Reventador volcano, which maintains a permanent eruptive activity.
He clarified that the discharge has already been controlled and that the site of the OCP rupture is not directly exposed to the rivers that flow through the area.
The firm has not specified information on the volume of the discharge generated by the rupture of the pipeline.
The operations manager of OCP, Roberto Grijalva, assured in a statement from his company that “all the corresponding measures have been arranged to prevent (protect) any environmental damage and for this it has arranged all the necessary resources to comply with said commitment”.
He also said that the firm works jointly with the government and local authorities of the Amazonian province of Napo, where the breakdown occurred.
For its part, the General Secretariat of Communication of the Presidency reported that the Minister of Energy, Juan Carlos Bermeo, will lead a Crisis Committee to monitor and follow up and control the actions of containment and response to the mishap.
The source indicated that personnel and equipment from the state company Petroecuador will support contingency tasks in the area of the spill.
OCP, as part of the contract for the transportation of Ecuadorian crude, has an insurance policy for civil liability and environmental damage, the source added.
He clarified that the mishap has not altered the operations for the export of national crude oil to international markets.
He specified that the state-owned Trans-Equatroian Pipeline System (Sote) and a polyduct for the transport of derivatives that cross the area have not suffered alterations and operate normally.
The Ministry of the Environment has launched an investigation and has urgently ordered the management of contingency, cleaning and remediation activities in the affected area.
The Ecuadorian authorities have asked the company OCP to present an emergency plan and an assessment of environmental and social damage.
In addition, the Emergency Operations Committee (COE), which controls the activities in this type of event, has activated one of its units to guarantee the use, quality and quantity of water for the population of the Napo province.
The Government “will maintain permanent vigilance to overcome the situation and will verify that the necessary repair actions are carried out,” concluded the Communication Secretariat in its bulletin.
The process of regressive erosion in the area of the El Reventador volcano, through which the Piedra Fina river passes, began to be recorded in 2020 and since then Petroecuador and OCP have built some variants to redirect their pipes.
With a daily production of about 530,000 barrels, Ecuador’s oil exports are one of its main sources of foreign exchange income and funding for its state budget.
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