Force Majeure Declared on Colombian oil Shipments
Colombian state-controlled Ecopetrol confirmed with Argus that the company has declared force majeure on three shipments of medium sour Vasconia crude due to ship in March. Ecopetrol said the FM was triggered "mainly" as a result of the 220,000 b/d Ca?o Lim?n-Cove?as pipeline shutting down on rebel attacks.
Ecopetrol declined to share information on volume and the names of tankers carrying the crude, but the majority of Vasconia cargoes are 500,000 bl, which would total 1.5mn bl of crude delayed so far.
A Latin American trader familiar with the company told Argus the Aframax tanker Althea was scheduled to load in Cove?as tonight but has been delayed "until further notice." Vessel-tracking data supports this, reflecting Althea is anchored in the Caribbean just offshore Cove?as, which exports about 90pc of Colombian crude oil.
Total volume of crude that will be impacted was unavailable today amid continuing security concerns. There has been no reported impact on the grade's price so far.
Attacks over the weekend occurred in El Lorito, El Carmen municipality in Norte de Santander province, and in Guamalito, Arauquita municipality in Arauca province. The Ca?o Limon-Cove?as pipeline transports crude to Cove?as port from US independent Occidental's Ca?o Lim?n oil field complex in the eastern Llanos basin and receives flows from the 120,000 b/d Bicentenario pipeline as well. The military could not immediately confirm which armed group carried out the attacks, but the ELN is active in eastern Colombia's oil regions.
Separately, violent labor-related protests erupted at the Cove?as oil terminal yesterday, according to a joint statement from Ecopetrol, Ecopetrol's transport subsidiary Cenit and pipeline company Ocensa.