UPDATE 1-Colombia's Ecopetrol profit tumbles 96 pct on lower oil prices

martes 12 de mayo de 2015 21:59 GYT

(Adds CEO quote, production, export trends,)

By Peter Murphy

BOGOTA May 12 (Reuters) - Net profit at Colombia's state-controlled oil producer Ecopetrol tumbled 96 percent in the first quarter from the same period last year, largely due to the sharp drop in crude oil prices since the middle of last year.

The company posted a consolidated net profit of 160 billion Colombian pesos ($67.2 million) in the quarter, compared with 3.88 trillion pesos in the same period a year earlier.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, EBITDA or cash flow, fell 60 percent to 3.15 trillion pesos in the first quarter versus 7.86 trillion pesos in the same period of 2014.

The company's consolidated oil and gas production, which includes subsidiaries, rose 1 percent from the first quarter last year to 773,400 barrels per day equivalent. The non-consolidated figure for Ecopetrol alone was 722,000 barrels.

"The trend (in oil prices) substantially affected the group's revenue," said Juan Carlos Echeverry, who became the company's CEO in early April.

He said financial results were starting to improve although they remain far below those of a year ago when oil prices were above $100 per barrel compared with about $61 now. The company made a loss of 844 billion pesos in the last quarter of 2014.

"The group's financial and operational results in the first quarter beat those of the fourth quarter of 2014 and March in particular was the best month of the first quarter," he said.   Continuación...