Guerrillas kidnap oil workers in Colombia

Rebels of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) have kidnapped five oil workers in the northeastern Colombia town of Tame, according to government officials.

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Mar. 23 – Rebels of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) have kidnapped five oil workers in the northeastern Colombia town of Tame, according to government officials.

The kidnapped men work for Tuboscope and Tecnioriente, which are under contract with Occidental Oil Co., in Caricare oil field, adjacent Cano Limon field, in which Oxy has a 35% stake.

The area, near the border with Venezuela, has long been known as a FARC stronghold. The men were traveling by car on the road that links Tame and Arauca when members of FARC’s Rogelio Almareles company intercepted the vehicle and took them into the mountains.

According to analyst IHS Global Insight, the incident highlights continuing risks for oil companies in Colombia, despite improvements to public security under President Alvaro Uribe, who took office in 2002.

The analyst cited concerns that “rebels may step up violent action against oil companies in the run-up to the presidential election in May, in an effort to undermine the credibility of President Uribe’s so-called democratic security policy.”

According to the US Energy Information Administration, “While the security situation has improved, Colombia's longstanding civil conflict has taken its toll on the country's energy sector, with the country’s pipelines and power lines still experiencing occasional sabotage by insurgent groups.”

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

More in General Interest