May 26, 2015 / 3:05 PM / 4 years ago

Colombia's Ecopetrol foresees $6 bln/yr investment budgets through 2020

BOGOTA, May 26 (Reuters) - Colombia’s Ecopetrol SA expects its annual investment budgets to be around $6 billion through 2020, it said in a strategic plan published on Tuesday, down from recent years as it pursues a structural savings target of $1 billion a year.

The plan is the first since Juan Carlos Echeverry took over as CEO in early April. It foresees production of 870,000 barrels per day by 2020, up from 722,000 barrels currently, and for the company to add 1.7 billion barrels of proven reserves by the same year.

Ecopetrol plans to invest around $4 billion per year in production and boost reserves by increasing the amount of oil that can be recovered from existing fields through technologies including injection of liquids and gases.

The exploration budget, which was slashed to $600 million this year, is expected to be between $1 billion and $1.5 billion per year until 2020, the company’s e-mailed presentation said.

Ecopetrol is by far the Andean country’s biggest oil company and oil sector representatives say spending on exploration is increasingly urgent as reserves fall to less than seven years’ worth at the country’s current million-barrels-per-day output.

The company said it is budgeting for an accumulated $2.5 billion in spending on transport and logistics between now and the end of the decade.

Ecopetrol’s target of saving a total of $6 billion through 2020 is part of an efficiency drive that will seek savings across the company’s operations. It also aims to cut net debt over the period but did not give a target figure. (Reporting by Peter Murphy; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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