Ecopetrol, Pacific Rubiales see increased production in Colombia

Colombia's Ecopetrol and partner Pacific Rubiales Energy announced the launch of new central processing facilities in their jointly owned Rubiales and Quifa heavy oil fields that will boost production by a total of 100,000 b/d.

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18 -- Colombia's Ecopetrol and partner Pacific Rubiales Energy announced the launch of new central processing facilities in their jointly owned Rubiales and Quifa heavy oil fields that will boost production by a total of 100,000 b/d.

The firms said the start-up of operations at the Rubiales CPF2 facility, which cost $319 million, is expected to result in an 70% increase in crude production to 170,000 b/d from the current 100,000 b/d by yearend.

They said the opening of the new CPF plant at Quifa, which cost $180 million, will allow for the processing of 30,000 b/d.

“The opening of the two facilities is important as it will help increase the country's crude extraction by some 100,000 b/d, or more than 12% of national production,” the firms said.

The increased crude production by Rubiales and Quifa will be transported through the Los Llanos oil pipeline (ODL), which went into operation in 2009 and will raise its throughput to 340,000 b/d from 160,000 b/d by May 2011.

Rubiales field, which lies in the eastern part of Meta province, currently has 105 active wells. A company spokesperson told OGJ that plans for 2010 call for a total of 150 wells to be operating by yearend, which will help boost heavy crude production levels.

“The increased production at the field is the result of the efforts and human resource commitment of partner companies, and investments which since 2007 have amounted to approximately $1 billion,” the firms said.

In the Rubiales field, Ecopetrol holds a 57% stake, while operator Meta Petroleum has 43%. In the Quifa field, Meta Petroleum, operator, holds a 60% stake, while Ecopetrol holds 40%.

Earlier this week, Ecopetrol said it is joining with six other firms—including Pacific Rubiales—to build and operate a new 450,000 b/d oil pipeline system which will transport crude from Araguaney, in the Casanare Department of central Colombia, to the Covenas Export Terminal on the Caribbean Sea (OGJ Online, Nov. 15, 2010).

Ecopetrol’s announcements this week are in line with new developments in Colombia that, according to the Energy Information Administration, will see increased oil production in coming years.

“EIA forecasts that Colombia should continue to see an increase in oil production in the next 2 years: according to the March 2010 edition of the Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA expects Colombian oil production to rise to 760,000 b/d in 2010 and 810,000 b/d in 2011, vs. 680,000 b/d in 2009.”

Colombia had 1.36 billion bbl of proved oil reserves in 2010, the fifth-largest in South America, according to OGJ figures.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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