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Colombia's Energy Industry


in figures

Oil reserves2 billion barrels

Oil production738,000 bopd

Gas reserves100 bcm

Gas production12.6 bcm

Colombia: Oil and Gas Industry Reactivation

Colombia produced 851,000 bopd in 2018 while resurgent exploration and production activity saw new discoveries .

In 2003, Colombia reached a low point in its energy history when it started to import crude oil. In response the government took several measures. The National Hydrocarbons Agency was created, taking over the regulation and administration of local hydrocarbons resources from national oil company Ecopetrol. The agency’s actions, such as the international bidding round of 2012, attracted new oil and gas companies to the Latin American country.

The strong resurgence of production raised concerns about the lifetime of existing reserves and the oil exploration has been made the top priority. Exploratory drilling continued throughout 2018, leading to several recent discoveries by companies including by ONGC Videsh, Amerisur, Ecopetrol and Frontera Resources.

Much of Colombia’s hydrocarbons resource wealth is hidden deep offshore or in inaccessible parts of the hinterland. Because the country lacks developed oil and gas infrastructure, investment in hydrocarbons transportation is needed. Colombian pipelines are congested, and the Ministry of Mines and Energy is developing incentives for the construction of new oil pipelines. Additionally, several midstream projects are also under way.

Colombia has a refining capacity of 421,000 bpd, shared between five refineries owned by Ecopetrol. The country’s two largest refineries are the Cartagena Refinery, whose capacity was increased from 80,000 bpd to 165,000 bpd in November 2015, and the 250,000-bpd Barrancabermeja Refinery. In 2017, the country’s refinery throughput reached only 354,000 bpd, which was still a 4.5% increase over 2016. Meanwhile, oil consumption stood at 344,000 bpd, up 1.5% over 2016. Colombia is a net exporter of crude, but must import certain refined fuels, including diesel.

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