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Colombia plans oil export pipeline to Pacific as demand from US drops

11.19.2013  | 

Colombia is planning to build a new pipeline to export oil via its Pacific coast to Asia, as increased production from United States shale fields forces South America’s third-biggest crude producer to seek new markets.

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By ANDREW WILLIS

BOGOTA (Bloomberg) -- Colombia is planning to build a new pipeline to export oil via its Pacific coast to Asia, as increased production from United States shale fields forces South America’s third-biggest crude producer to seek new markets.

“There’s a re-figuration of the international energy market, especially with what is happening in the United States,” Colombia Mines and Energy Minister Amylkar Acosta said in an interview in his Bogota office. “Colombia is almost the only country in Latin America where oil exports to the United States haven’t declined. But it is foreseeable that it will happen in the future.”

China and India represent important growth markets, with Colombia planing to connect its Cano Limon pipeline with Venezuela’s Guafita in the short term, and build a separate pipeline to the Pacific coast in the medium to long term, Acosta said. The route of the new pipeline is being studied.

The majority of Colombian oil is currently exported through the Caribbean port of Covenas, according to the website of Ecopetrol. “From a security perspective, Colombia can’t keep relying on a single port for oil exports,” Acosta said. “We must have alternatives, and this would be via the Pacific.”

Plans announced in October for a joint venture between Ecopetrol and Petroleos de Venezuela, to develop mature fields in Venezuela will go ahead, helping Ecopetrol increase reserves using its expertise in secondary oil recovery, Acosta said.



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