Ecopetrol suspends Barrancabermeja refinery overhaul

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Colombia's Ecopetrol suspended the modernization of the Barrancabermeja refinery (pictured) until the oil pricing environment allows investment in such a project.

The NOC made the announcement after the company's board approved a roadmap for the refinery for 2016-20 that aims to maximize its competitiveness and sustainability in the long term, in line with Ecopetrol's strategic plan released last May.

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The revamp envisions increasing capacity of the 250,000b/d refinery in Santander department to 300,000b/d.

"Ecopetrol, in line with industry trends, has focused on making its operations profitable by optimizing costs and implementing strict austerity measures, in addition to adjusting its investment plan, only approving projects that create the highest value and generate the most cash flows in the short-term," the company said in a statement.

The state firm posted a net loss of 3.99tn pesos (US$1.3bn) last year, compared to a profit of 5.73tn pesos in 2014.

Ecopetrol said it will make incremental investments to guarantee the plant's reliability and integrity, as well as investing in O&M programs.

"The Barrancabermeja refinery is a fundamental asset for diversifying risks among Ecopetrol's various businesses," added the company, which pointed to the plant's "excellent" operating results in 2015.

Throughput at Ecopetrol's other refinery, the newly revamped Reficar, is expected to reach 150,000b/d during the second half of 2016, compared with the current 105,000b/d.


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