Colombia Ecopetrol’s Q2 profit declines, costs rise

25 July 2012 16:57  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Colombia's state oil company Ecopetrol said late on Tuesday that second-quarter profit fell amid increasing costs.

Net income slid 2.4% to Colombian pesos (Ps) 3,660bn  ($2.04bn, €1.69bn), from Ps3,750bn  a year earlier, the Bogota-based company said late on Tuesday after markets closed.

“In the second quarter of 2012 Ecopetrol and its subsidiaries had important achievements in its strategic goals in the midst of some operational difficulties and the decrease in international oil prices,” the company’s chief executive, Javier Gutierrez, said.

Guerrillas have continued attacks on pipelines and oil fields, increasing transport costs and hampering production, the state-run company said.

Guerrillas this week blasted part of Ecopetrol’s Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline, causing an oil spill in eastern Colombia.

Increased sales of marine fuels, gasoline, diesel and jet fuel were recorded during the quarter amid steady demand, the company said.

Petrochemical products sales during the quarter declined as production was down because of maintenance during the quarter.

Polyethylene (PE) production decreased because of supply constraints of feedstock ethylene as numerous crackers were shut during the quarter, Ecopetrol said. Aromatics production was also down amid maintenance of processing units.

In downstream operations, the utilisation rate at Barrancabermeja refinery dropped to 79%, a nearly 5% decline from the same period in 2011. The rate decline was because of maintenance during the quarter on a crude unit, the company said.

Barrancabermeja is the country's largest refinery.

Over 68% of the proposed expansion and modernisation of the Cartagena refinery was completed by the end of June, according to Ecopetrol.

The company said that oil production, which includes operations outside Colombia, went up 4.8% to 762,200 bbl/day in the second quarter versus the same period in 2011.

($1 = €0.83)
($1 = Ps1,795)

By: Leela Landress
+1 713 525 2653

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