Colombia’s attorney-general to investigate Ecopetrol oil spill

Ecopetrol has confirmed that it will cooperate with all investigations related to an oil spill. (Reuters pic)

BOGOTÁ: Colombia’s attorney-general’s office on Monday launched an investigation to determine whether officials from state-run oil company Ecopetrol could be held criminally responsible for an oil spill of 550 barrels in Santander Department.

The Lisama 158 well, which was in the process of being shut down because of low production, leaked crude into a ravine over a three-week period, contaminating the water and affecting animal and plant life.

“The investigation will seek to establish if individual officials from Ecopetrol were responsible and could be penalised,” an official from the attorney-general’s office said.

The country’s procurator-general, which has the power to remove officials from their jobs, and the environmental licensing agency are also conducting investigations into the leak.

Ecopetrol Chief Executive Officer Felipe Bayón Pardo told journalists late on Monday the company will cooperate fully with all three investigations.

“We will do everything necessary to re-establish environmental and social conditions in the area. It’s our commitment and we will invest the human, financial, and technological resources which are required,” said Bayón.