(Adds details on sales, production, EBITDA)
BOGOTA, May 3 (Reuters) - Ecopetrol, Colombia’s state-run oil company, said on Thursday that its first quarter net profit rose to 2.6 trillion pesos ($923.3 million), up 195 percent from the same period in 2017, thanks to improved efficiencies and higher crude prices.
The results were the best first quarter showing in four years, the company said in a regulatory filing.
Ecopetrol plans to invest between $3.5 billion and $4 billion during 2018, as it reboots production and exploration after being battered by the global fall in crude prices.
Consolidated oil and gas production in the first quarter fell to 701,000 barrels per day (bpd) because of February protests that led to blocked roads and the temporary closure of some fields, the company said.
Despite the output fall, Ecopetrol said it would not change its production goal for the year.
“We’re keeping our yearly production goal at between 715,000 and 725,000 barrels per day,” chief executive Felipe Bayon said in the statement.
Ecopetrol produced an average of 715,000 bpd in 2017.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in January to March increased by 23 percent compared with the same quarter in 2017, to 7.15 trillion pesos, the company said.
Total sales in the first quarter were up 9.5 percent compared with the same period last year, to 14.6 trillion pesos.
The company will hold a call with investors about the results on Friday. ($1 = 2,831.99 Colombian pesos) (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; editing by Cynthia Osterman and Rosalba O’Brien)