Colombia Oil Group Plans $80B Spend, Govt May Sell 10% -Executive

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), June 23, 2011

Colombia's Ecopetrol group of oil companies is planning to spend $80 billion through 2020 in a bid to produce 1.3 million barrels a day, a top Ecopetrol executive said Thursday.

Hernando Zerda, head of corporate strategy and business performance, said the government may also sell a 10% stake in Ecopetrol, the main shareholder in the group of oil companies mostly operating in the Latin American nation.

Speaking at the World National Oil Companies Congress here, Zerda said the companies of the Ecopetrol group are set for a total capital expenditure of $80 billion during 2011-2020.

The spending will help achieve a goal to produce 1.3 million barrels a day in the Ecopetrol companies--most of it in Colombia--in 2020, up from just above 700,000 barrels a day today, he said.

The majority of the financing will come from cash generation, but "sometime in the future, we will need to issue new shares" potentially representing 10% of the Ecopetrol capital "if prices are good," he said.

Separately, "the government is considering selling 10%" in Ecopetrol, the executive said.

But both considerations are "not confirmed," he said.

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