Colombia’s energy sector

Since the application of a series of regulatory reforms in 2003, Colombia has seen a marked increase in oil, natural gas, and coal production.

In the last few years, Colombia has increased its importance as an energy producer in the Western Hemisphere. Colombia is currently the third-largest oil producer in Latin America and is the seventh-largest crude exporter to the United States. Colombia is also the largest coal producer in South America.

The enactment of a series of regulatory reforms to make the oil and natural gas sector more attractive to foreign investors led to an increase in Colombian production. The government implemented a partial privatisation of state oil company Ecopetrol in an attempt to revive its upstream oil industry. However, after nearly a half-decade of relatively secure operations, attacks on oil and natural gas pipelines have increased, and disruptions to oil supply averaged about 45 000 bbl/d in 2014. Expanded oil production will require discoveries of reserves and improvements to infrastructure safety.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that Colombia consumed 1.545 quadrillion British thermal units of energy in 2012. Oil consumption constituted 40%, followed by hydroelectricity, natural gas, and coal. The country relies on hydropower for the bulk of its electricity needs and uses very little coal domestically. Of the 94.2 million short t of coal produced, Colombia exported 87% in 2013. Natural gas consumption in Colombia has grown, rising by more than 54% in the past decade.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

Published on 28/05/2015

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