Over the past month, Petrotrin has been experiencing some significant restructuring and several of the top tier of management were asked to resign following the resignation of its president. While Petrotrin continues to suffer with financial constraints and struggles to find its footing in a new landscape, other state-run oil companies around the world have been seeing success. Colombian oil company, Ecopetrol, is one such company. 

Alvaro Uribe, former President of Colombia, previously spoke at the Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference (Energy Conference) in 2014 about the lessons learned in Colombia and the difficult decisions that were taken to make Ecopetrol what it is today. 

Ecopetrol recently announced that their net profit at the end of 2017 increased to 6.6 trillion pesos (US$2.3 billion) which has been the highest profit they have made in four years. An Ecopetrol release indicates that, in 2017, the company earned profit that was 16 per cent higher than 2014, despite a 45 per cent decrease in crude prices. 

In addition, the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was 23.1 trillion pesos, 28 per cent higher than 2016. Operating cash generation increased by 2.7 trillion pesos compared to 2016, and 5.3 trillion pesos compared to 2015 when average Brent price was at the same level as in 2017.

Headed by CEO Felipe Bayon Pardo, Ecopetrol has managed to be profitable at a time where commodity prices have fallen. He stated that, ‘2017 was a year of great operational and financial success for Ecopetrol. We are a more efficient and disciplined company, demonstrating our technical capabilities and resilience by emerging stronger from the crisis of low oil prices’. He added that, ‘we remained focused on seeking excellence and safety in all our operations and meeting our production goals with a better balance of reserves. These are basic foundations for the company’s growth’. 

In 2017, the company saw the successful execution of the global performance test of the new Cartagena Refinery. The refinery capacity was also increased to the highest in Colombian history at a stabilised 346,000 barrels per day at each of its refineries at Cartagena and Barrancabermeja. 

Ecopetrol invested a total of US$2.2 billion in 2017 — 80 per cent of this was allocated to exploration and production (E&P). 

The CEO noted that he was satisfied with the results achieved with the certification of reserves target, which showed a change of trend. He added that proven reserves totaled 1,659 million barrels of oil equivalent, average life increased to 7.1 years and reserve replacement index was 126 per cent, the highest in the past three years.