OIL PRODUCER PLANS TO BE BIG SPENDER
Ecopetrol, Colombia’s state-owned oil company, says it hopes to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange later this year, following a further privatization to help finance an aggressive spending program to boost its exploration, production and refining operations.
Colombia’s largest company, Ecopetrol plans to invest $60 billion by 2015 to increase crude production to 1 million barrels per day from 400,000 bpd last year and to bolster its refining and petrochemical activities, according to president Javier Gutierrez. The company will rely on cash flow, debt and equity to fund its expansion.
Last year Ecopetrol raised $2.8 billion by selling a 10.1% stake in the company to Colombian investors. Ecopetrol is still 89.9% owned by the government but has been authorized to issue as much as 20% of its capital on the stock market.
“Our plan is to become a global company, and we may look for projects in Africa or Asia,” Gutierrez told a recent conference. Its Ecopetrol America subsidiary signed a participation agreement with Shell Offshore in December for two blocks in the Gulf of Mexico. Ecopetrol previously signed exploration agreements in Peru and Brazil. In February Ecopetrol teamed up with Turkish Petroleum to search for oil and gas near Colombia’s border with Venezuela.