Colombian state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol said it obtained patents in the United States, Mexico and Colombia for four technologies used in hydrocarbon production, refining and transport.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office approved two patent applications for technologies that prevent the destructive action of vanadium, whose metallic compounds reduce the yield of valuable products such as LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and gasoline during the crude-refining process, Ecopetrol said in a statement Wednesday.

For its part, the Mexican Intellectual Property Office granted a patent application for an anti-fuel-theft technology described as a "tool for the secure removal of valves installed on fluid tubes," the company said.

The fourth patent was granted by Colombia's Superintendence of Industry and Trade for an invention that increases the lifespan of pipes used at production fields.

Ecopetrol said all of the patents had 20-year terms and noted that similar exclusive rights to those inventions had been granted in other countries, including Nigeria, Russia, Mexico and China.

The company has received 12 patents this year. EFE