Ecopetrol pipeline explosion kills 11, injures 99

Stolen from the Guardian. Click for original story.

Big explosion in a gasoline & diesel pipeling in Colombia yesterday. Here’s Reuters:

A huge explosion at a gasoline and diesel pipeline in Colombia
killed 11 people, injured at least 70, and destroyed dozens of homes on Friday, in an incident described by President Juan Manuel Santos as a “great
tragedy.”

There is some debate about the cause. At first Ecopetrol blamed thieves, but now Dinero says it was weather (my translation):

As a result of the powerful wintertime atmospheric wave over the country, soil moved in such a way that generated tension and the later rupture in the Salgar-Cartago products pipeline, causing a hydrocarbons spill in the Aguazul (Bluewater) creek valley, which came in contact wth a heat source, generating a series of explosions and a fire.

While you can’t predict and prevent all pipeline spills in a place as rainy and mountainous as Colombia, this does make me wonder if it’s part of the same problem that Lungs of the Earth wrote about this week — that state oil companies can be relatively exempt from public pressure on environmental issues.

Another issue here is climate change — the two years of constant rain and flooding in Colombia and Venezuela is a result of two consecutive La Niña events. There are now some predictions of a third consecutive year (via).

Adding: I check my mail and see Kepler sent a good English-language version of the story from the Guardian, with the photo I stole above.