Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol announced plans to invest more than $9.5 billion in 2013 as it strives to boost output to 1 million barrels per day by 2015.
A total of $6.59 billion is to be invested directly in Ecopetrol and $2.96 billion in its subsidiaries, the company said in a statement Friday.
Ecopetrol Chairman and CEO Javier Gutierrez told reporters that "the investments for 2013 are consistent with the company's mid- and long-term strategy and aligned with the goal of producing 1 million clean barrels in 2015 and 1.3 million in 2020."
He said the bulk of the funds will be allocated for exploration and production, as well as to modernize refineries and expand crude transport capacity.
The 2013 investment plan was drawn up on the basis of the experiences of previous years.
By business area, $974 million will be earmarked for exploration, $3.79 billion for production, $397 million for refining and petrochemicals, $1.25 billion for transport and $179 million for "other" activities.
Ecopetrol said in 2013 it plans to drill 19 exploratory wells, 3 delimiting wells and 11 stratigraphic wells, all in Colombia.
Most of those wells will be located in the Llanos Orientales (Eastern Plains) region. Others will be drilled throughout the Magdalena Valley and in the Caribbean region.
The goal of the investment in production is to continue increasing crude and gas ouput, which is projected to average 750,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent in 2013.
The budget approved for 2013 does not include possible acquisitions, which would have to be analyzed and approved individually by Ecopetrol's board of directors.
Separately, the company said that meeting the plan's financing needs will depend on price fluctuations, cash flow, market conditions, progress in executing the investment budget in the different business areas and eventual acquisitions.
Ecopetrol, Colombia's largest firm, is one of the 40 largest oil companies in the world and among the four biggest in Latin America.
Besides Colombia, where the company accounts for 60 percent of oil output, Ecopetrol is involved in exploration and production activities in Brazil, Peru and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
The company owns Colombia's two largest refineries and the majority of its network of oil and multi-purpose pipelines and is significantly increasing its participation in biofuels. EFE