Ecopetrol Misses 2013 Output Target Amid Transport Constraints

Ecopetrol SA (ECOPETL), Colombia’s largest oil company, missed its 2013 output target as protests by local communities and transport restrictions impeded higher growth.

The state-run company produced a record 788,200 barrels of oil equivalent a day on average last year, up from 754,000 barrels a day in 2012, the Bogota-based company said in a filing published after markets closed yesterday. The company’s target for 2013 was 798,000 barrels a day.

Production grew despite “a challenging environment”, Chief Executive Officer Javier Gutierrez said in the statement.

Pipeline bombings surged last year as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, tries to damage an industry that President Juan Manuel Santos calls an engine of growth. The number of attacks jumped 72 percent from a year earlier to 259, Defense Ministry data show.

Ecopetrol said fourth-quarter profit slumped 33 percent, missing analysts’ estimates, after pipeline costs and pension payments rose.

Net income fell to 2.43 trillion pesos ($1.2 billion), from 3.62 trillion pesos a year earlier, the company said. Ecopetrol was forecast to post profit excluding some items of 3.7 trillion pesos, according to the mean of six estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Proven reserves increased 5.1 percent from a year earlier to 1.97 billion barrels, the company said. Ecopetrol will propose a dividend of 260 pesos a share at a shareholder meeting on March 26.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Willis in Bogota at awillis21@bloomberg.net

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

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