Oil Production in Colombia
Colombia has seen an increase in oil production in recent
years following a period of steady decline. The Colombian government has enacted a series of regulatory reforms to make the
sector more attractive to foreign investors. In addition, it has implemented a partial privatization of state oil company
Ecopetrol in an attempt to revive its upstream oil industry. The security situation in the country has also improved, with
few attacks against oil and natural gas infrastructure in recent years.
According to Oil and Gas Journal
(O&GJ), Colombia had 1.36 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves in 2010, the
fifth-largest in South America. The country produced an estimated 680,000 barrels per day (bbl/d)
of oil in 2009, up from 600,000 bbl/d in 2008. With oil consumption reaching an estimated 282,000 bbl/d in 2008, Colombia
exports about half of its oil production, with much of this going to the United States.
The State Oil Company is the largest oil producer
in the country, representing about one-third of total national production. The bulk of Colombia's
crude oil production occurs in the Andes foothills and the eastern Amazonian jungles. Meta department,
in central Colombia, is also becoming an important production area, predominately of heavy
crude oil. The largest field in the country is the Rubiales field, located in Meta department.
Low levels of production began at Rubiales in the late 1980s, but increasing investment and the completion of a new pipeline
have allowed production rates to rise in recent years. Production at Rubiales exceeded 100,000 bbl/d in December 2009, up
from only 12,000 bbl/d in June 2007. According to the Colombian government, the field could contain 500 million barrels of
total reserves. The crude oil produced at the Rubiales field is very heavy (below 15° API), so a diluent (such as naphtha)
must be added to it in order for the crude oil to flow through pipelines
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