Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol said on Monday it plans to invest $8.47 billion in 2012, mainly in production and transport, up from $6.74 billion planned this year.
Once dismissed as a failing state, Colombia is slowly turning its image around by combating leftist rebels and attracting foreign investment through loosened regulations, creating a streamlined hydrocarbons agency and lowering taxes.
The company, which is listed in New York and Bogota, expects to spend $4.1 billion on production, mainly in the heavy oil-rich Llanos basin, it said in a statement.
That should help take output for Ecopetrol in Colombia to an average of 750,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) next year, a 10 percent increase from 2011, it said.
Group production, which includes output from operations in Colombia, other nations in Latin America and the U.S. Gulf Coast, should be 800,000 boepd in 2012, it said.
Ecopetrol said it plans to invest $2 billion in transport, including expanding existing pipelines and its participation in new projects. Oil infrastructure capacity is a major worry of the government.
Total group investment, including operations in Brazil and Peru among others, will be almost $11 billion next year, of which 94 percent will be made in Colombia, it said.
The 2012 investment plan assumes a price of U.S. benchmark crude of around $70 per barrel. On Monday, U.S. January crude CLc1 closed at $96.92 a barrel.
It said the 2012 plan did not include money for acquisitions.
Colombia’s national oil production has ramped up to a record 950,000 barrels per day as easing security concerns have allowed greater exploitation of heavy crude areas in addition to incremental production increases at existing fields.