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Colombia 2021 oil production forecast cut to near 770,000 barrels per day -minister

Colombia expects average oil production of close to 770,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021, lower than a previous forecast, Mines and Energy Minister Diego Mesa said on Wednesday, citing the impact of weeks of protests earlier in the year.

Oil is Colombia’s top export and source of foreign exchange but production dipped at the start of the coronavirus pandemic due to falling demand and rising supply, before falling further in the middle of 2021 amid protests.

Anti-government demonstrations erupted across Colombia in opposition to a proposed tax reform at the end of April. Though the original proposal was shelved, anger at police violence and demands for a basic income saw marches stretch into six weeks, complete with road blockades which hit oil production, among other sectors.

In an interview with Reuters in June, Mesa forecast annual oil production of between 780,000 and 800,000 bpd. Production in 2020 was 781,300 bpd, according to the government, a fall of more than 11% versus 2019.

“Unfortunately the national strike arrived at the end of April, which is where we saw an even more pronounced decline (in production),” Mesa said during a virtual forum hosted by the Colombian Oil and Gas Association (ACP), citing field closures across the country.

Colombia’s majority state-owned oil company and largest oil producer Ecopetrol this month reported third-quarter oil output of 490,900 bpd, down 1.8% on the year-earlier period.

The company’s production in the first nine months of the year averaged 483,500 bpd, lower than the 520,500 bpd it reported in the first nine months of 2020.

The lower crude output prompted the company to cut its full-year guidance for oil and gas production to an average of 680,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (bped), from a previous target of between 700,000 to 710,000 bped.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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