BOGOTA, Colombia, June 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Castilla field, located in the Meta province, exceeded 100,000 barrels of crude per day in production, with a record production in the last few days of 100,043 barrels of crude per day, thus surpassing its own record.
Castilla, which has been developed for 35 years and operated directly by Ecopetrol S.A. (NYSE: EC; BVC: ECOPETROL; BVL: EC) ("Ecopetrol") since August 1, 2000, achieved this new record upon performance of a seismic survey that increased the field's expectations, followed by material drilling, conditioning and the expansion plan which has been underway since 2002.
Based on this new production record, Castilla has become the top contributor to Ecopetrol's direct production. Additionally, it is worth highlighting the employment contribution of the Castilla field, which in the previous year created approximately 2,909 jobs in the Meta province.
Since 2000, when Ecopetrol undertook the direct operation of the Castilla field, production has increased by over 500%. This field is part of Ecopetrol's heavy crude oil strategic program, which is intended to achieve a goal of one million barrels of oil equivalent per day by the year 2015.
In 2010, estimated investment in Castilla will exceed US$600 million, including the drilling of approximately 60 new development wells.
The increase in production has led to oil royalties delivered by the National Hydrocarbon Agency(ANH) to the Meta province, particularly, to the municipalities of Castilla La Nueva and Acacias, which have received over COL$140 billion in the past two years.
The social responsibility project expenditures by Ecopetrol in the Meta province have also increased from approximately COL$814 million in 2004 to COL$5,594 billion in 2009, particularly in the areas of community development, health, education and, most of all, repair and conditioning of roads.
This production record pertains only to the Castilla field. The Chichimene field, which is also operated by Ecopetrol through the Castilla-Chichimene Operations Superintendence, has an average production of 15,800 barrels of crude per day and, based on the drilling and infrastructure development program that is currently underway, is estimated to reach a production of 20,000 barrels of crude per day. If the Chichimene field reaches its target production, the combined production from the Castilla and Chichimene fields will reach 120,000 barrels of crude per day by the end of June 2010
Ecopetrol is Colombia's largest integrated oil company and is among the top 40 oil companies in the world and the four largest oil companies in Latin America. Besides Colombia, where it accounts for 60% of total production, the Company is involved in exploration and production activities in Brazil, Peru and the United States (Gulf of Mexico). Ecopetrol has the principal refinery in Colombia, most of the network of oil and multiple purpose pipelines in the country, and it is considerably increasing its participation in biofuels.
This release contains forward-looking statements relating to the prospects of the business, estimates for operating and financial results, and those related to growth prospects of Ecopetrol. These are merely projections and, as such, are based exclusively on the expectations of management concerning the future of the business and its continued access to capital to fund the Company's business plan. Such forward-looking statements depend, substantially, on changes in market conditions, government regulations, competitive pressures, the performance of the Colombian economy and the industry, among other factors; therefore, they are subject to change without prior notice.
SOURCE Ecopetrol S.A.