Colombian oil production climbed to an average of 927,000 barrels per day in May, a record high, Mines and Energy Minister Carlos Rodado Noriega said.

Rodado told reporters that the new figure marks a 19.4 percent increase over the average of 776,000 bpd produced in May 2010.

The May figure was 24,000 barrels higher than the average output in April 2011.

Of the average per-day production in May, 107,000 bpd came from firms exploiting concessions granted by the National Hydrocarbons Agency, Colombia's energy sector regulator, while 820,000 bpd corresponded to operations by state-controlled Ecopetrol and its associates.

In mid-May, President Juan Manuel Santos said he was confident that by the time his term ends in 2014 Colombia will reach its output target of 1.15 million bpd.

Colombia is exceeding its year-to-date targets in terms of exploration and production activity, Rodado said, noting that 54 exploratory wells had been completed through May and another 12 were being drilled.

Equipment was being moved at five other wells and 27 were pending.

Separately, Rodado said an average of 990 million cubic feet of natural gas was sold per day (compared to production capacity of roughly 1.2 billion cfd) in May.

"Sales of natural gas in May 2010 stood at (an average of) 1.1 billion cubic feet" per day, the minister said.

In that regard, Santos also said in mid-May that he will allow natural gas exports as a way to increase sales of that fuel, though without neglecting domestic needs.