In what seems to be the first FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) attack against Venezuelan infrastructure, rebels belonging to the 59th Front of the country’s main rebel group used powerful explosives to blow up part of the Antonio Ricaurte pipeline. The blast affected a stretch of 25 meters long and caused a crater of about 7 meters deep. The attack took place in the rural area of Maicao in the northern Colombian department of La Guajira and it appears the spare parts to repair the pipeline are not available in Colombia, the PDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela) however, agreed to supply the necessary parts.
The gas supply of the trans-national pipeline, estimated at 200 million cubic feet per day, was suspended from the time of the attack, which was around 20h30 Saturday night and will last three to four days.
Colombian General Germain Saavedra, commander of the First Army Division, reported that his troops are checking the area for minefields to allow access to the personnel in charge of repairing the damage. The pipeline was commissioned in October 2007 by former President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe and Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez. It has an approximate length of 224.4 kilometers, of which 88.5 km are on Colombian territory and transports natural gas from the Colombian Campo Ballenas natural gas field – exploited by Ecopetrol and Chevron – to the Venezuelan port city of Maracaibo.