UPDATE 1-Ecopetrol cost-cutting investment plan set at $7.86 bln

lunes 15 de diciembre de 2014 19:44 GYT

(Adds breakdown of budget, quote from company statement)

By Peter Murphy

BOGOTA Dec 15 (Reuters) - Colombia's state-run oil company Ecopetrol will invest $7.86 billion in 2015, down from $10.6 billion budgeted for this year, the company said in a regulatory filing on Monday, following the plunge in global crude prices.

The investment plan estimated average consolidated production of 760,000 barrels per day next year, a figure that includes quantities produced by its wholly or partly-owned subsidiaries or 710,000 barrels by Ecopetrol S.A. alone.

That is down from forecasts for 770,000 and 819,000 barrels per day equivalent for 2014, but output has fallen short of those figures. Consolidated output from January to September including gas was equivalent to 751,900 barrels per day.

"Ecopetrol revised its growth project portfolio and put in place a strict operation cost reduction process, giving priority to strategic investments that maximize value for the shareholder," Ecopetrol said in a statement.

The cost-cutting plan would save $3.57 billion in operational and other costs, it said.

The company announced last Friday its board was ousting Chief Executive Officer Javier Gutierrez after eight years on the job but said it had not yet found a replacement. Ecopetrol shares have lost two thirds of their value in two years.

By the end of September, Ecopetrol had invested only $5.6 billion of the $10.6 billion it has planned to invest this year. Two executives from the company told Reuters this month it was evaluating where it could slow investment after global oil prices fell from $113 in mid-June to about $60 now.   Continuación...