HOUSTON, April 8 (Reuters) - Colombia’s state-run Ecopetrol will significantly increase crude imports in April to some 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) with four cargoes that are heading to its Cartagena refinery, according to Thomson Reuters Trade Flows data.
Latin America’s fourth largest oil producer, Colombia started regular crude imports last year trying to configure a better slate for its Cartagena refinery, which was modernized and expanded to process up to 165,000 barrels per day (bpd).
In 2015 it received Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude and Artic’s Arco blend shipped from Norway.
Since then, it has been mostly buying spot cargoes of Latin American crudes, including Mexican and Brazilian grades.
The Andean country’s crude imports jumped to 75,000 bpd in January, but no purchases were registered from February through March, the data say.
In April Ecopetrol will discharge a 500,000-barrel cargo of Arco blend, a 1-million-barrel cargo of Mexico’s Maya, a 630,000-barrel cargo of Kazakhstan’s CPC light blend shipped from Russia and a 900,000-barrel cargo of Angola’s Dalia medium crude.
U.S. ExxonMobil appears as seller of the Angolan and Artic crudes, while Spain’s Repsol is the seller of the Mexican crude cargo.
Ecopetrol declined to comment.
These purchases, which represent a 33 percent increase versus February volumes, will mark the first time the country buys Angolan and Kazakh grades since it started importing crude for Cartagena.
Ecopetrol expects to cover 30 percent of Cartagena’s crude feeding with imported oil, the refinery’s chief told Reuters in October.
Along with Colombia, OPEC-member Venezuela has increased crude imports since 2015. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga, additional reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Andrew Hay)