Ecopetrol obtains approval to sell up to $3.18 bln in bonds

martes 14 de abril de 2015 17:19 GYT

BOGOTA, April 14 (Reuters) - Colombia's state-run oil company Ecopetrol has obtained approval from the Finance Ministry to sell up to $3.175 billion in bonds on the international market, the company said on Tuesday.

The government owns 88.5 percent of Ecopetrol, meaning its approval for the company to issue debt is required. Approval does not necessarily mean a bond sale is imminent but the company has previously issued debt weeks or months after obtaining it.

Colombia's million-barrel-per-day oil sector is under pressure to explore for new oil with reserves due to run out in less than seven years, but the plunge in oil prices last year has prompted Ecopetrol and others to slash investment budgets.

Juan Carlos Echeverry, who became Ecopetrol's chief executive last week, also faces the challenge of reversing a slump in the company's share price which has roughly halved since late 2013. (Reporting by Peter Murphy; editing by Gunna Dickson)