September 29, 2015 / 12:32 AM / 3 years ago

Colombia seeks to boost oil output, may cut taxes

BOGOTA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Colombia plans to increase auctions of oil blocks to boost exploration and is considering a cut in taxes on oil companies as part of its strategy to increase crude output, a government official said on Monday.

Latin America’s fourth biggest oil producer has seen its economy hit by a decline in the global price of oil over the last year. The government needs to increase oil reserves and production, its biggest source of revenue from exports and royalties.

“What we are looking for is that the oil (auction) rounds are more dynamic and we want to adjust the agenda to hold them every six months or each year,” Mauricio de la Mora, head of the national hydrocarbon agency, told reporters in Bogota.

De la Mora said it was no longer feasible to hold auctions every two years due to the declining price of oil.

The next round of auctions could be held by year-end, he said.

The government hopes the initiative will bring additional investment to the oil sector. De la Mora wants to see investment in the industry to reach about $15 billion annually, up from about $7 billion now. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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