Oil and Gas

UPDATE 2-Colombian Sept oil output highest in decade

 * Colombia posts highest output since end of 1999
 * Country received $1.3 bln oil investment in H1-cenbank
 * Bogota to temporarily halt gas exports to Venezuela
(Recasts, adds further details, background; adds byline)
 By Jack Kimball
 BOGOTA, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Colombia's oil production rose
to its highest level in a decade in September with output of
798,000 barrels per day (bpd) up 17.4 percent from a year ago,
the National Hydrocarbons Agency said on Thursday.
 Oil investment has boomed in Latin America's No. 4 oil
producer since a U.S.-backed security crackdown in 2002. The
Andean nation is trying to boost crude output to 1.5 million
bpd in the next few years.
 Output from state-run Ecopetrol ECO.CNEC.N and
associates gained nearly 16 percent last month to 720,000 bpd,
the oil agency said. The country has averaged around 775,000
bpd this year, up from 671,000 bpd in 2009, it said.
 Colombia's oil output has averaged more than 15 percent
year-on-year growth this year and has been on a firm upward
trend since 2007 after leveling out earlier this century.
 Colombia boosted oil output mainly through technical
measures including higher recovery factors, but also through
commercial development of key fields.
 Former President Alvaro Uribe attracted more investment by
loosening regulations, creating a streamlined hydrocarbons
agency, lowering taxes and improving security drastically.
 For a graphic on Colombia monthly oil output and investment
 For a graphic on the performance of commodities this year:
 Colombia had about 2 billion barrels of proven petroleum
reserves at the end of last year, the agency said. It said
total gas sales rose to 1.11 billion cubic feet per day last
month versus 1.02 billion cubic feet daily in September 2009.
 Colombia's energy ministry said it would interrupt natural
gas exports to neighboring Venezuela for a month starting in
mid-November to expand and carry out maintenance on gas
infrastructure. [ID:nN21242967]
 Domestic users consume most of the gas Colombia produces.
 Colombia, once dismissed as a failing state mired in drug
violence and guerrilla war, has had a more than five-fold
increase in foreign direct investment in its petroleum sector
as instability from the four-decade conflict has eased.
 The country received $1.3 billion in foreign direct
investment in the oil sector in the first half of 2010 compared
to $449 million in 2002, central bank figures show.
 Energy Minister Carlos Rodado said in August that oil and
gas production would rise to an average of 1.4 million barrels
of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in 2014 from around 980,000
boepd at the end of 2010.
 Ecopetrol will be in charge of a major part of that output
with the company -- Colombia's largest oil producer -- planning
to invest $80 billion between 2011 and 2020. [ID:nN29244035]
  (Editing by David Gregorio)