Ecuador's OCP crude pipeline restarts after temporary shutdown

Credit: REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

QUITO, July 20 (Reuters) - Ecuador's heavy crude pipeline (OCP) restarted operations on Monday after a temporary closure over the weekend as a precautionary measure due to a new landslide in the country's Amazon region, operator OCP Ecuador said in a statement.

In recent months, the privately-run pipeline as well as the state-run SOTE pipeline and a hydroelectric generator have had to suspend operations due to increased soil erosion in the upper Coca River basin. OCP in June finished construction of a temporary bypass as a precaution.

The pipeline, which has recently been transporting around 180,000 barrels per day of crude, halted operations on Saturday to prevent possible environmental damage due to a new wave of soil erosion.

The company said on Monday it restarted pumping after completing a technical evaluation. It did not rule out further temporary suspensions.

Ecuador's crude exports were not affected by the shutdown. When both OCP and SOTE burst in April due to a major landslide, the Andean nation was forced to declare force majeure on crude exports and reduce crude output.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Luc Cohen Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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