Bicentenario Oil Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Bicentenario Oil Pipeline, known locally as Oleoducto Bicentenario or by its Spanish initials OBC, is an operating oil pipeline in Colombia.[1]

Existing Location

The pipeline runs from Estación Banadia in Saravena (Arauca department) to Estación Araguaney in Yopal (Casanare department), Colombia.[2]

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Project Details

  • Operator: Oleoducto Bicentenario S.A. (OBC)[3]
  • Owner: Cenit SAS (99.03%)[4][5][6], Hocol SA (0.97%)[4]
  • Parent Company: Ecopetrol SA (100%)[4][7]
  • Capacity: 233,000 barrels per day[7]
  • Length: 230 kilometers[7]
  • Diameter: 42 inches[3][8]
  • Oil source: Llanos basin, Colombia
  • Status: Operating
  • Start Year: 2013[9]

Cancelled Expansion Location

The pipeline would have run from Banadía to Coveñas, Colombia.

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Expansion Project Details

  • Operator: Ecopetrol (56%), Pacific Rubiales (43%), Canacol (1%) [1]
  • Cancelled Expansion Capacity: 340,000 barrels per day
  • Cancelled Expansion Length: 731 kilometers
  • Oil source: Llanos basin, Colombia
  • Status: Cancelled


The Bicentenario pipeline started up in 2013-14. It is operated by Oleoducto Bicentenario S.A.[3], which Ecopetrol controls through its midstream unit Cenit[6] with a 100% stake.[7] Prior to Cenit's acquisition of full ownership in the pipeline in 2020[6], Canadian independent Pacific Exploration and Production held 43.02% and junior independents Canacol and Vetra held the remainder.[9]

The reported purpose of the OBC pipeline was to lessen transport bottlenecks experienced by oil producers operating in the prolific Llanos basin in Colombia. The pipeline project was planned to be the largest such project in Colombia's history.[10]

The pipeline was originally intended to be a 960km pipeline, extending from Casanare to the port of Coveñas, and a 450.000 b/d capacity. Its construction was intended to be carried out in four separate stages, labeled phases 0 to 3.

Phases 0 and 1 were completed and are currently operational. Together, these sections measure 229.3 kilometers (142.5 miles), with a reported capacity ranging from 110,000 bpd[11][12] to 240,000 bpd.[13]

Phases 2 and 3 were cancelled, but would have had a combined length of 730.3 km and transported crude oil from the Banadía station to the Coveñas Maritime Terminal through 42, 30 and 36 inches pipelines, with 340,000 b/d capacity.[14] The second and third phases of the pipeline were cancelled due to falling oil prices and attacks on various parts of other pipeline systems. Aside from a suspension of further pipeline construction, the attacks on other pipeline systems led Ecopetrol to reverse the Bicentenario oil pipeline to free up flow of 29°API crude from US Occidental's 50,000 b/d Caño Limón oil field, effectively bypassing the portions attacked by anti-government militants.

The Bicentenario line previously transported medium sour crude from Araguaney to Banadia. With the reversal, the Caño Limón crude can now flow south to connect into the 590,000 b/d Ocensa transport system. The Caño Limón-Coveñas and Ocensa lines both terminate at the oil port of Coveñas, but Ocensa is less vulnerable to attack because it is underground.[9]

In late 2018, there was renewed talk of building phases 2 and 3 of the Bicentenario pipeline, based on rising oil prices and potential development of new reserves in the departments of Casanare and Meta. A consultant for the Colombian planning agency UPME (Unidad de Planeación Minero Energética) estimated that oil prices would have to rise above $85 a barrel and proven reserves in the two departments would need to exceed 450,000 barrels daily in order for the expansion project to become financially viable.[12]

During 2020, there was an increase of illegal siphoning from the pipeline as well as an attack on the pipeline.[15] Operations and technical personnel were sent to perform inspections under the protection of the Colombian National Army in June 2020.[16]


In August 2014, the Bicentenario crude oil pipeline was shut down after being attacked; the Colombian government blamed leftist rebels for the attack. The attack occurred in Fortul municipality, in the eastern province of Arauca near the border with Venezuela, causing a huge fire but no injuries or fatalities. The oil pipeline was ruptured and oil did spill according to the operator Oleoducto Bicentenario. The was no disclosure on the amount of oil spilled.[17] In May 2019 the pipeline was again shut down following an attack in Fortul.[18]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bicentenario Oil Pipeline, BN Americas, accessed September 2017
  2. "Mapa Oleoducto Bicentenario". ODL. Retrieved 2020-08-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "D&E-CRUDOS-MME-481-2017 (pp 48-49)" (PDF). Ministerio de Minas y Energía. December 18, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Special Group Report 2021 - Integrated Sustainable Management Report (p 29)" (PDF). Ecopetrol SA. March 22, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. "Mapa de infraestructura petrolera en Colombia" (PDF). Cenit Transporte y Logística de Hidrocarburos. Retrieved 2023-03-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Ecopetrol S.A. announces agreement between its subsidiaries Cenit and Bicentenario and Frontera". PR Newswire. November 17, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Ecopetrol S.A. 2021 Form 20-F (pp 48, 65, 99)". US Securities & Exchange Commission. April 25, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "Oleoducto Bicentenario". Oleoducto Bicentenario de Colombia S.A.S. Retrieved 2023-03-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Colombia bypasses oft-attacked oil pipeline, Argus News Agency, May 12, 2017
  10. Oleoducto Bicentenario Oil Pipeline, A Barrel Full, accessed October 2017
  11. "Ecopetrol S.A. 2020 Form 20-F (p 50)". US Securities & Exchange Commission. April 8, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Aval a construcción de etapas 2 y 3 del oleoducto Bicentenario". Portafolio. September 27, 2018.
  13. "Capacidad Bicentenario". Oleoducto Bicentenario. Retrieved 2023-03-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. Phase 2 and 3 Oleoducto Bicentenario (OBC) Pipeline, BNamericas, accessed October 2017
  15. "Colombia's Ecopetrol says illegal siphoning of oil pipelines rises in 2020". Deccan Herald. 2020-09-15. Retrieved 2021-07-16.
  16. "Finance Colombia » Cenit Activates Contingency Plans Due To Series of Pipeline Attacks This Week". Retrieved 2021-07-16.
  17. Colombia's Bicentenario pipeline stopped by rebel bombing, Reuters, August 13, 2014
  18. Colombia's Cano Limon, Bicentenario pipeline pumping halted after bombings, Reuters, May 22, 2019

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