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BOGOTA Feb 15 Colombian state oil company
Ecopetrol said on Friday its full-year 2012
consolidated net profit fell 4.4 percent to 14.78 trillion pesos
($8.25 billion) versus 2011 due to delays in environmental
licenses, rebel attacks and protests.
Like other companies operating in Colombia, Latin America's
fourth biggest oil producer, Ecopetrol has been hit by a rise in
guerrilla assaults against oil facilities, delays in getting key
permits and an increase in social protests.
"The year 2012 was very challenging for Ecopetrol. Various
circumstances and operating environments had to be addressed to
achieve growth and positive results for our shareholders,"
Ecopetrol President Javier Gutierrez said in a statement.
An Ecopetrol source said the decline in profits was due to
lower-than-expected production because of environmental delays,
rebel bombings of pipelines and protests by communities.
Oil production by the group, which includes operations
outside Colombia, was 754,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day
(boepd) in 2012, a rise of 4.1 percent versus 2011. In Colombia,
Ecopetrol's output rose 4.8 percent to 702,000 boepd last year.
The company had set a 2012 production goal of 780,000 boepd
for the group.
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In the fourth quarter, the company's consolidated net profit
decreased 18.4 percent to 3.62 trillion pesos versus the same
period in 2011. That was better than the 3.2 trillion pesos in
the third quarter.
Group oil production was 762,000 boepd in the quarter, up
2.7 percent from the same period in 2011. Production within
Colombia by Ecopetrol S.A. was 4.1 percent higher at 713,300
boepd in the period.
Ecopetrol said that fourth-quarter consolidated operating
profit fell 33.3 percent to 4.96 trillion pesos versus a year
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization
decreased 23.6 percent in the fourth quarter, good for an EBITDA
margin of 34 percent versus 42 percent a year before, it said.
A decade-long offensive by U.S.-backed Colombian troops has
pushed guerrillas deeper into inhospitable jungles and
mountains, but rebels still attack military and civilian
targets, especially against the oil and mining sectors.
$1=1,790.61 Colombian pesos
(Reporting by Jack Kimball and Luis Jaime Acosta; Editing by