Ecopetrol in Talks With Enbridge to Build Pipeline to Pacific

Colombia’s state-controlled oil producer Ecopetrol SA (ECOPETL) is in talks with Enbridge (ENB) Inc. to build a pipeline to the Pacific coast.

“There have been initial conversations with Enbridge and other companies to look at the different alternatives to build this pipeline,” Ecopetrol spokesman Mauricio Tellez said in a telephone interview today. “It’s vital for all the production that’s increasing in the Llanos Orientales to have an exit via the Pacific.”

Colombia is seeking new markets in Asia as production increases and the U.S. shale energy revolution threatens to slow demand from North America.

Talks started several months ago and are being led by Ecopetrol’s transport subsidiary Cenit, Tellez said. Enbridge, Canada’s largest pipeline operator, said it’s discussing the possibilities and requirements for the pipeline with the Colombian government and refiners.

They are in “very early stages,” Graham White, an Enbridge spokesman, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “There are no construction dates, formal proposals or time-lines.”

China and India represent important growth markets for Colombian oil exports as the U.S. becomes more energy independent, Colombia Mines and Energy Minister Amylkar Acosta said in a Nov. 18 interview in his Bogota office. The majority of Colombian oil is currently exported through the Caribbean port of Covenas, according to Ecopetrol’s website.

“There’s a re-figuration of the international energy market,” Acosta said. “From a security perspective, Colombia can’t keep relying on a single port for oil exports.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Willis in Bogota at awillis21@bloomberg.net; Jeremy van Loon in Calgary at jvanloon@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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