Ministries Submit Ecopetrol Modification Bill to Congress

Colombia's mines and energy as well as finance and public credit ministries have submitted a bill to congress to restructure state oil company Ecopetrol in light of plans for a partial sell-off, the mines and energy ministry said in a statement.

The bill would allow Ecopetrol to change its legal classification once shares are issued and sold.

The government in July approved the sale of up to 20% of Ecopetrol to help guarantee the company's financial and administrative independence with the aim of carrying out E&P investments and modernizing oil infrastructure.

The legislation would allow Ecopetrol to carry out R&D and sell traditional and alternative energy sources. It also would allow the company to produce, mix, store, transport and sale oxygenated components and biofuels.

Ecopetrol aims to produce 500,000 barrels a day (b/d) in 2011 compared to the 311,000b/d average in 2005. To reach this goal, the company must increase annual investment to US$2.5bn in the next five years from this year's almost US$1.4bn.

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