Colombian regulator approves BP asset sell-off

December 23rd, 2010 - 12:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Bogota, Dec 23 (IANS/EFE) Colombia’s competition regulator has given the green light for state oil firm Ecopetrol and Canada’s Talisman to acquire the Colombian unit of BP Plc.Ecopetrol said Tuesday in a press release that the Superindendancy of Industry and Commerce’s decision gives the go-ahead for the $1.75 billion purchase of BP Exploration Company Colombia Limited.

The deal includes an additional $145 million payment for the BP unit’s stake in the Oleoducto Central S.A., or Ocensa, pipeline.

Ecopetrol and Talisman had reached an agreement in August to acquire all of the British energy giant’s businesses and assets in the Andean nation.

The transaction is part of BP’s strategy for meeting claims costs related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The Colombian oil company said the regulator, in a statement Dec 17, expressed no objections to the deal.

“With this authorisation, the parties will be able to proceed with the closing of the deal, on the terms announced last Aug 3, 2010,” Ecopetrol said.

The state company said BP Exploration Company Limited will become an affiliate in which Grupo Empresarial Ecopetrol will have a 51 percent stake and Talisman Colombia Holdco Limited will hold the remaining 49 percent.

“This operation helps to increase Ecopetrol’s base of reserves and hydrocarbon production with a view to fulfilling the goal of 1 million barrels a day established in its corporate strategy for the year 2015, and 1.3 million barrels a day in 2020,” Ecopetrol said.

Among the businesses and assets encompassed by the deal are BP’s stakes in the Piedemonte, Rio Chitamena, Tauramena and Recetor contracts, which cover the Cusiana, Cupiagua en Recetor, Pauto and Florena fields.

The transaction also includes the British company’s stakes in the Ocensa (24.8 percent), Oleoducto de Colombia (14.57 percent), Oleoducto de Alto Magdalena (4.25 percent) and Transgas de Occidente (20 percent) pipelines and its interest in gas plants in the central-eastern Colombian province of Casanare.

Ecopetrol, one of Latin America’s four largest oil companies, also has operations in Brazil, Peru and the US Gulf of Mexico.

–IANS/EFE
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