Ecopetrol jumps back to black

Colombian oil and gas company Ecopetrol returned to profit in the last quarter of 2016 compared to a loss in the prior-year quarter. 

The state-run company on Monday posted a net profit of 186 billion Colombian pesos (approx. $62.6M) compared with a net loss of 6.31 trillion pesos ($2.1 billion) in the final quarter of 2015.

Juan Carlos Echeverry G., CEO of Ecopetrol S.A., commented: “2016 was a year of enormous challenges for Ecopetrol. The oil industry experienced the lowest crude prices in 12 years, thus resulting in cuts in investment.”

He added: “Ecopetrol focused its efforts on reducing costs, producing profitable barrels, prioritizing investments, strengthening cash flow and, at the same time, maintaining its investment-grade rating.”

The company’s investments in 2016 totaled $2.5 billion.

At 718 thousand barrels of oil-equivalent per day, the company exceeded its 2016 production target by 3 thousand barrels despite a drop in production by 25 thousand barrels of oil-equivalent per day for 45 days, due to the closure of the Caño Limón Coveñas oil pipeline; and a 16% drop in Brent prices.

The company’s fourth quarter closed with a cash position of 14 trillion pesos (approximately $4.7 billion).

Echeverry also noted that the country’s offshore is a region of high potential. “During the fourth quarter, two wells, Purple Angle (Kronos appraisal well) and Gorgon, were being drilled to have a better assessment of the potential of the Colombian Caribbean,” he said.

Looking ahead, Echeverry said: “Challenges in 2017 are no less serious. Adding reserves and maintaining the pace of production are the company’s focus. The exploration campaign will be stepped up significantly in regions of high prospectivity. Investment in exploration will rise from USD 280 million to USD 650 million, thus increasing offshore wells from 2 to 6 and onshore wells from 5 to 11 from 2016 to 2017. Enhanced recovery will continue to leverage additional reserves in mature fields.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff