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Ecopetrol ADRs Rise as Higher Prices Boost First-Quarter Profit

Ecopetrol SA, Colombia’s largest oil company, gained the most in eight months in New York trading after saying first-quarter profit rose 37 percent.

Ecopetrol’s American depositary receipts gained 4.3 percent to $67.48 at the close, the steepest one-day gain since Aug. 29. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 0.6 percent. Colombian markets were closed for a holiday.

Profit climbed to 4.27 trillion pesos ($2.42 billion) from 3.11 trillion pesos a year earlier, the Bogota-based company said in a filing to Colombia’s financial regulator after markets closed yesterday.

Higher prices for Colombian heavy crude helped offset modest production setbacks from pipeline attacks during the quarter, Nathan Piper, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a report today.

“Production growth in the quarter was impacted by attacks on the Cano Limon and OTA pipelines,” Piper wrote. He noted that the Rubiales and Quifa fields continue to display “strong performance.”

Production rose to 743,400 barrels a day of equivalent oil and natural gas in the quarter from 686,300 barrels a year earlier and 741,700 barrels a day in the fourth quarter, according to Ecopetrol’s filing. Chief Executive Officer Javier Gutierrez said in March that guerrilla attacks won’t derail plans to increase production this year to 800,000 barrels of oil and natural gas a day.

Ecopetrol’s Bogota-traded shares have climbed 35 percent this year, outpacing a 20 percent gain in the benchmark IGBC index.

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