Oil is one of Colombia's principal exports. The Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline transports almost 20 percent of Colombia's oil production. The pipeline originates in the Department of Arauca in northeast Colombia. It carries oil nearly 500 miles to the Caribbean port of Covenas. The pipeline has been a principal infrastructure target for terrorist attacks by Colombia's insurgent groups. During 2001, attacks on the pipeline cost the Colombian government an estimated $500 million in lost revenues for the year. The United States agreed to assist Colombia in protecting the first 110 miles of the pipeline where most of the attacks were occurring. We examined how the U.S. funding and resources provided to Colombia have been used, and what challenges remain in securing the pipeline.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of State||Because Colombia continues to face serious obstacles in its long-standing insurgency and in protecting the Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, should develop a plan for transitioning the pipeline security program in Arauca to the Government of Colombia. The plan should delineate (1) how the helicopters provided for pipeline security will be used and maintained, (2) how the progress made to date will be sustained, and (3) an expected completion date for U.S. involvement.|