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Colombian state oil firm Ecopetrol is looking to increase its exploration activities during 2015.
"Ecopetrol needs to replicate the success it has had in production in its exploration sector." CEO and president Juan Carlos Echeverry said during the firm's 1Q15 results call.
The company reported the discovery of the Bullerengue-1 well in the Sinú-San Jacinto basin, and drilled two exploratory wells, Nueva Esperanza 2 and Nueva Esperanza 3 in the CPO-9 Llanos block, during the quarter.
The firm's production increased by 1% year-on-year in 1Q15, rising to 773,400Mboe/d from 766,700boe/d. This was due to record production at the Chichimene and Castilla fields, with output of 80,000b/d and 118,000b/d during the first quarter.
Downstream, Ecopetrol's Barrancabermeja refining margin was recorded at US$18.2 per barrel, up 11.7% from US$16.3 during 1Q14.
Construction of the new Cartagena Reficar refinery was 97.1% complete as of March 31, with the firm expecting to commence partial operations in October-November 2015.
The company's sales costs dropped to 8.5tn Colombian pesos (US$3.40bn) during 1Q15, down 21% from 10.8tn pesos during the same period of last year. This was primarily due to the effect of lower oil prices on purchase costs of crude, gas and refined products, as well as lower fixed costs due to maintenance works and contracted services during the first quarter.