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Ecopetrol to Supply New Colombian Refinery Targeting 2015 Start

Colombia’s state-controlled Ecopetrol SA agreed to supply crude to a refinery scheduled to start operations in 2015, said the governor of the country’s top oil-producing province where the facility will be located.

The refinery will cost about $1.5 billion to build and have a refining capacity of 40,000 barrels of crude a day, supplying fuel to the region and diluent to Ecopetrol for the transportation of heavy crudes by pipeline, said Alan Jara, governor of Colombia’s central Meta province.

“We spoke with Ecopetrol,” Jara said in a telephone interview yesterday. “There is a letter of intent that guarantees the oil necessary to supply the refinery.”

Ecopetrol, Colombia’s largest oil company, will supply the refinery although volumes are yet to be defined, the company said in an e-mailed response to questions. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said May 6 that Colombia’s environmental agency ANLA awarded a license for the refinery project that will be overseen by La Empresa de Petroleos del Llano-Llanopetrol.

Llanopetrol is seeking a partner that will provide financing for the refinery and has received several offers so far, Jara said. The province of Meta owns the majority stake in Llanopetrol.

A decision on the partner will be made in the “coming days,” with construction of Colombia’s third refinery likely to start in the first quarter of 2015 and finish before year-end, he said.

Colombia has operating refineries in Cartagena and Barrancabermeja, both owned by Bogota-based Ecopetrol.

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