Colombia to invest $1.74 bln to expand oil pipeline network
BOGOTA Dec 3 (Reuters) - Colombia will invest 4 trillion pesos ($1.74 billion) over the next five years to expand the capacity of its oil pipeline network by 16 percent, state-owned Cenit which runs the network said on Wednesday.
The investments will take transport capacity of the 9,000 km network to 1.4 million barrels from 1.2 million at present. Crude oil output in Latin America's fourth biggest producer is currently just below 1 million barrels per day.
Cenit, a subsidiary of Colombia's state-owned oil company Ecopetrol, which specializes in transport and storage of oil and refined products, will oversee the investments.
"The projects in which the investments will be made will seek to expand and optimize crude and fuel transport infrastructure and maintain reliability," Cenit said in a statement.
Some of Colombia's crude oil output is transported at a higher cost by truck for lack of pipelines.
Colombia's pipeline network is regularly attacked with explosives by the country's FARC and smaller ELN leftist guerrilla groups, often hampering output for several days while pipelines are repaired.
Ecopetrol is evaluating its projects to see where it can trim investments following a roughly one third drop in oil prices this year, Colombia's Mines and Energy Minister said on Wednesday. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Peter Murphy; editing by Gunna Dickson)
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