Via The Financial Times, an update on Ecopetrol, Colombia’s state oil company.  As the article notes:

“[Ecopetrol] is one of the best examples of a creaky behemoth invigorated by part-privatisation. It is making the most of Colombia’s improved security environment and resilient economy.

Ecopetrol’s chief executive Javier Gutierrez has told beyondbrics that production should rise 6 per cent by the end of 2010, and the company may offer a further 10 per cent of its shares to investors next year.

Production should rise from 580,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) in the second quarter to 615,000 bpd by December, Gutierrez said.

That’s still a long way from the medium-term goal – 1m bpd by 2015. Hence Ecopetrol has embarked on an aggressive exploration and acquisition strategy, both domestically – in areas that were once under the control of guerrillas – and in Brazil, Peru and the Gulf of Mexico. Most recently it joined with Talisman to snap up BP’s Colombian subsidiary in a $1.9bn deal that is currently adding 12,500 bpd to its total.

While foreign partners contribute about 7-10 per cent of total production, increasing domestic production is highlighting the infrastructure shortfall in Colombia. The country has only recently claimed back certain zones from armed groups; for many years, oil pipelines were regularly sabotaged (see picture).

In response, Ecopetrol will spend $18-$19bn in upgrading infrastructure over the next decade, notably a 230km, $4.2bn pipeline that will carry 450,000 bpd from the Llanos basin to Colombia’s Pacific coast.

Gutierrez said companies such as Pacific Rubiales and Petrominerales, both listed in Canada, are keen to partner in building the first stage of the pipeline, which will cost $1.2bn and should be finished by October 2011. A second phase would be completed by July 2012 and the whole project by December 2012.

Gutierrez added that Ecopetrol may offer up to 9.9 per cent of shares to investors next year, following the success of its 2007 offering of 10.1 per cent. The previous offering, which then Colombian president Alvaro Uribe called a “democratisation” rather than privatisation, was structured to give small, first-time investors the first bite of the apple, and Colombians responded with gusto, queueing until the last minute for their stake.

The Latin American oil industry is, after all, not all about Petrobras.

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 10th, 2010 at 1:55 pm and is filed under Ecopetrol.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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