Ecopetrol 'eyes Mexico investment'

Khalifa Mohamed Mazk inspects a pipeline at Marsa al Hariga oil port in the city of Tobruk, approximately 1,500 km (932 miles) east of Tripoli22 September 2014, News Wires – Top Colombian oil player Ecopetrol is eyeing investments onshore in Mexico, which is opening up its energy sector, its chief financial officer said.

The state-led energy company has seen operations so far this year clouded by rebel attacks on infrastructure and exploration failures, but is targeting a turnaround in output of to 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2015.

“We see the internationalisation as a chance to diversify,” chief financial officer Magda Manosalva told a conference in London, adding that the firm would focus on available onshore fields even as Colombia remains its primary focus.

Ecopetrol is already an active minority partner in the US Gulf of Mexico.

Rebel group attacks pushed Ecopetrol’s production to an average of 750,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day so far this year — well below the nearly 1 million in 2013.

The company is also working with the Colombian government to streamline exploration approvals that can take up to two years to receive.

Ecopetrol invests roughly 80% of its capital expenditure into exploration, said Manosalva, adding the number was unlikely to change in future years. She declined to say how much the firm would invest in 2015.

“We have been investing most of our capital expenditures in exploration … but we have not had a material discovery,” she said.

Without new gas discoveries in particular, Manosalva said the company would “have a problem supplying new demand” by 2018.

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