The government of Ecuador ordered “urgently” cleanup and remediation actions after a oil spill occurred in an area of Amazon due to the rupture of the Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline (OCP), which suspended oil pumping this Saturday.
through the Ministry of Environment, “the government has urgently and immediately ordered the management of contingency, cleaning and remediation activities” in the sector of the town of Piedra Fina, said the ministry in a statement released around dawn this Saturday and without specifying the amount of oil spilled.
He added that workers remain “environmentally monitoring the affected area” after the breakage of the Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline recorded on Friday afternoon in that area located on the border between the Amazonian provinces of Napo and Sucumbíos (border with Peru and Colombia).
To guarantee the cleaning and remediation of the area affected by the oil spill in the San Luis sector, we have deployed more than 20 officials from: @PrasEcuador, Environmental Quality, Protected Areas, Environmental Regulations and Control, and Tena and Orellana Technical Offices. pic.twitter.com/bWgKMqaKML
— Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition (@Ambiente_Ec)
January 29, 2022
For its part, OCP reported on Saturday that “the pumping of crude oil has stopped as a preventive measure, and that it will be restored when the right conditions are met.” The company specified that it has taken measures to prevent the export and transportation of crude from being disturbed.
According to the government, the detachment of stones caused by heavy rains affected “four pipes of the infrastructure” of the Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline, which transports about 450,000 barrels of crude daily.
On Friday, the company said the damage was “recorded in an area where the pipe is not directly exposed to rivers.” He added that his staff was working “intensely to avoid any risk of this (spill) reaching water sources.”
The Emergency Operations Committee of the province of Napo works to guarantee the distribution of water for its inhabitants.
In images released by the Environment portfolio on Twitter, it can be seen how crude oil falls from the open pipeline. Trucks and cranes also appear moving large amounts of earth in the affected area.
Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline He indicated that he began the cleaning and remediation tasks, as well as the repair of the pipeline, which has an extension of 485 kilometers and crosses four provinces.
“Containment actions aimed at avoiding environmental damage have been initiated, and for this purpose crude oil containment pools have been located in order to prevent any type of impact on water sources,” the company said in a statement.
Ecuador exploited 494,000 barrels of crude oil a day between January and November, most of it by state-owned Petroecuador, according to the Central Bank.
In the Piedra Fina sector, in December the OCP and the Trans-Ecuadorian Pipeline System (SOTE) had to build alternative branches of its pipelines and suspend oil pumping due to soil erosion caused by a river.
In May 2020, in the same area, there was a collapse that destroyed sections of the SOTE, the OCP and a pipeline. Then, there was a leak of some 15,000 barrels that ended up being dumped into three Amazonian rivers, affecting the riverside populations, some of them indigenous.