London-based oil marketing company Gulf Oil International plans to invest $138 million to open 160 service stations through licensee Colombia Prolub S.A. over the next eight years, executives said.

"Gulf took its first steps to enter the fuel distribution business in the region in Colombia, with the opening of 27 service stations planned for this year," Prolub CEO Diego Valdivieso Villamizar told Efe

Service stations "will be opened in the Colombian cities of Bogota, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Ibague, Bucaramanga and Medellin, and on the country's main highways" this year, Valdivieso said.

"The multinationals are now looking positively at Latin American countries because there is a big market, one reason why Gulf is expanding its operations in Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia," Valdivieso said.

Gulf Oil International, which traces its roots to the discovery of the huge Spindletop well near Beaumont, Texas, in 1901, has a presence in more than 100 countries. EFE