APPEC Colombia's Ecopetrol sees crude export share to Asia rising -CEO

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The entrance of Ecopetrol's Castilla oil rig platform is seen in Castilla La Nueva, Colombia June 26, 2018. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez/File Photo

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SINGAPORE, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Asia will increasingly be a strategic market for Colombia's majority state-owned energy company Ecopetrol (ECO.CN), its president and chief executive officer Felipe Bayón said on Monday.

Some 63% of Ecopetrol's crude exports have been shipped to Asia in 2021, compared with 52% last year and up from 12% in 2008, when the company started trading with the region, Bayón said in a pre-recorded speech for the 2021 edition of the annual Platts APPEC conference. He didn't disclose shipment details by volume.

"It's an increasing trend. There is a lot of a strong, strategic relationships that have been built over the years and this was quite fundamental during the COVID-19 (pandemic)," Bayón said.

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"We're very thankful that those relationships actually did a lot for Ecopetrol during the crisis. A lot of the Chinese refineries kept on asking for crude as consumption and demand was going rapidly down in Colombia."

As a part of expansion plans for Asia, the Colombian oil company created a new marketing subsidiary in Singapore earlier this year. The new unit, called Ecopetrol Singapore Pte Ltd, will in turn control Ecopetrol Trading Asia Pte Ltd, which is currently being set up.

Ecopetrol is Colombia's largest company. It produces most of the South American country's oil and owns the two most important refineries, as well as most of the pipeline network.

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Reporting by Koustav Samanta; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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