BOGOTA, June 12 (Reuters) - Colombia’s reserves of crude oil were down 5.6 percent to 2.3 billion barrels at the end of last year, the mines and energy ministry said on Friday, due to attacks by leftist rebels on infrastructure and the global fall in crude prices.
Reserves, equal to 6.4 years of output at the country’s current production rate, were down from 2.4 billion in 2013.
The Andean nation, where taxes and royalties from oil make up 20 percent of government revenue, has been battered by the global fall in prices. Crude is the country’s largest export and source of foreign exchange.
“We are looking to increase our crude reserves and maintain production above 1 million barrels (per day) to keep moving the country’s economy,” Energy Minister Tomas Gonzalez said in a statement.
Colombia’s private sector oil producers’ association has warned that a fall in exploration and investment could threaten efforts to increase output to a million barrels per day this year.
Marxist rebels have recently increased attacks on oil infrastructure such as pipelines.
Colombia’s oil production was 988,100 barrels per day in 2014. Gas reserves were 5.9 tera-cubic feet, equivalent to 13.2 years of reserves, the ministry added.
State-run Ecopetrol produces most of the country’s crude oil, while Toronto-listed Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp is the industry’s biggest private player. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Luis Jaime Acosta; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)