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Colombia: hopes for boost to oil and gas sector

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

Private oil producers in Colombia said on Friday that they are optimistic about promises by President Ivan Duque to improve security and bolster the sector, according to a report from Reuters.

Duque, who has been in office for 101 days, pledged during his campaign to lower taxes on businesses and improve security for crude producers in the country, where leftist rebels regularly bomb pipelines and community protests sometimes stymie output.

“We’re seeing progress - we have all the confidence in the world in the administration,” said Occidental Petroleum Chief Executive Vicki Hollub to Reuters, on the sidelines of an oil and gas conference in Bogota.

Occidental operates the Cano Limon field in eastern Arauca province. The Cano Limon pipeline, run by state oil company Ecopetrol, has been offline for most of the year because of attacks by the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels.

Production and exports from the field have remained normal despite the bombings because Ecopetrol is able to use the smaller Bicentenario pipeline for transport.

Though the pipeline is currently shut, it was attacked repeatedly last weekend.

Hollub, who said Occidental hopes to more than double its 30 000 bpd net output in the coming years, was optimistic about the security situation.

“It’s still early but all the signs are positive,” said Frontera Energy Chief Executive Richard Herbert.

“What we need now is security in prospective, less developed areas,” he said, adding that blocks won by Frontera back in 2010 in southern Caqueta and Putumayo provinces have not been developed because of ongoing security worries.

Herbert said he hoped there would be a new bidding round in 2019 so further oil areas could be opened to exploration.

Speaking at the close of the conference, mines and energy minister Maria Fernanda Suarez said she was confident the oil sector would continue to contribute to the country’s development and its bid to become energy self-sufficient. 

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