OCP Ecuador completes pipeline repairs, lifts force majeure

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, May 07, 2020
OCP Ecuador completes pipeline repairs, lifts force majeure

Ecuador’s heavy crude oil pipeline (OCP) has resumed pumping after a one-month halt.

“We’re lifting force majeure. Tomorrow at 6am we’ll begin to receive the crude and we resume exports on May 11,” Andrés Mendizábal, CEO of the pipeline’s operator OCP Ecuador, told BNamericas.

With the restart, OCP Ecuador plans to export approximately 4Mb (million barrels) of oil in the remainder of May, starting with a 480,000b shipment.

Both the state oil duct SOTE and OCP were affected by a landslide in the San Rafael sector of Ecuador’s Amazon region on April 7, causing spills that halted operations.

The operator built a new 1.7km section that will be 73% underground to give the pipeline the best possible protection.

According to Guillermo Freire, business manager of OCP Ecuador, 1.2Mb are currently stored at the Amazonas station in Lago Agrio, ready to be transported to the port of Esmeraldas.

OCP Ecuador normally ships around 165,000b/d to the West Coast of the US, primarily to California, in addition to Asia and Chile.

Meanwhile, Santiago Sarasti, the company's safety, health and environment manager, announced that work will continue in the area affected by the spill. Three companies specialized in remediation and more than 370 locals were hired for the work.

According to the company, since the incident it has served 71 communities and distributed around 725,000 liters of bottled water and more than 2,500 supplies of basic necessities. Aid delivered in conjunction with state oil company Petroecuador will continue for as long as necessary, it said.

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