BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia said on Thursday its oil reserves were down 16.8 percent to 1.66 billion barrels at the end of last year, but that exploration was recovering after the global fall in crude prices.
At 2016 production levels the reserves are equivalent to 5.1 years of output, the energy ministry said in a statement. The figure was down compared to the 2015 figure of 2.0 billion barrels.
“Thanks to a recovery in international prices, exploration activity continues its recovery,” Mines and Energy Minister German Arce said in the statement, adding more new wells were opened by April 30 this year than during all of 2016.
Colombia, the fourth biggest oil producer in Latin America, has been battered by the global fall in prices. Output has also been hit by persistent pipeline attacks by the left-wing National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels, who oppose the presence of multi-national oil companies.
Average crude output was 885,000 barrels per day in 2016.
Reporting by Carlos Vargas and Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by David Gregorio