CORRECTED-Ecopetrol's Cartagena refinery to restart later in year

miércoles 13 de mayo de 2015 14:59 GYT
 

(Corrects to remove company not in story from RIC codes)

BOGOTA May 13 (Reuters) - Ecopetrol's Cartagena refinery on Colombia's north coast will return to operation around October or November but could take up to five months to reach its normal production speed, a director at the state-run company said on Wednesday.

The refinery, which produces fuels and other oil derivatives mainly for the export market, has been undergoing a $6.4 billion renovation that is expected to double its capacity to around 165,000 barrels per day.

"We're already in the final phase of construction ... These activities should permit the refinery's operation to commence by October or November," Pedro Rosales, Ecopetrol's vice president of Refining and Industrial Processes told analysts on a conference call.

He said the plant would start up in stages until all 31 of its refining units were brought online.

"It's a process that has to be conducted carefully for security and efficiency reasons, and the complete process could take between three and five months," he said.

Ecopetrol said on Tuesday it had returned to profit again in the first quarter of the year after reporting a rare loss in the fourth quarter of 2014, due to the plunge in crude oil prices. Profits were down 96 percent from a year ago. (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra and Peter Murphy; Editing by Ted Botha)