Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Colombian Oil Company Increases Exports to U.S

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Colombian Oil Company Increases Exports to U.S

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO _ Plans to export a half million barrels a day of high quality crude oil to the United States were announced Monday by Ecopetrol, the Colombian national oil company, in a move that could signal a strengthening of relations and the development of a strategic partnership between the two nations.

At a major oil industry conference in San Francisco, Dr. Juan Maria Rendon, president of Ecopetrol, said Colombia will be increasing its exports by nearly 200,000 barrels of oil per day to the United States by the end of the year. It will be a new crude oil that will be marketed under the name of Cusiana. By 1997 that figure will rise to 500,000 barrels per day.

When the light "sweet" crude from Cusiana hits the market later this year, it will be considered a prized commodity because of its low levels of sulphur, nitrogen, metals and acidity. Experts have compared it with Nigerian Bonny Light and West Texas Intermediate, touted for their high gasoline yields.

"Colombia can be a reliable and stable economic partner, providing a source of high quality, low sulphur crude oil to American consumers," said Rendon. "Today represents an important opportunity for an expansion in United States and Colombian relations."

U.S. domestic crude oil production fell to 6.6 million barrels a day in 1994, the lowest level since 1954. In fact, U.S. production of high quality low sulphur "sweet" crude will diminish by 700,000 barrels per day across the 1990s. Sweet crude accounts for 20 percent to 25 percent of U.S. oil imports.

"Cusiana crude offers the U.S. market an opportunity to refuel with an oil that provides greater flexibility to refiners in the United States because of the proximity between the two nations," said Rendon. "Shipping time averages just five days."

The need for other Western Hemisphere sources of crude was highlighted in the recent U. …

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