When it comes to energy in Latin America, all eyes have been on Mexico’s plans to open its oil industry to private investment. But Peruvian officials stole some of that thunder at the weekend by saying the government planned to sell up to 49 per cent of state-run PetroPeru. Read more

This summer’s sell-off in emerging market currencies hasn’t been bad news for everyone.

In the case of Colombia’s Ecopetrol, Latin America’s second largest oil company by market capitalisation at $97.4bn, the decline in the Colombian peso against the dollar has helped bump up third quarter profit by nearly 20 per cent. Read more

It is one of the more peculiar corporate stories in Latin America.

How in the world can a company like Colombia’s Ecopetrol boast a bigger market capitalisation ($128.6bn as of Monday) than its Brazilian counterpart Petrobras ($126.1bn) which produces three times as much oil and gas?

One conspiracy theory that has been doing the rounds is that Ecopetrol’s shares are being used in repo trades – where brokers and investors use the stocks as collateral to borrow money and buy even more shares, artificially inflating the price. Read more

Photo; Bloomberg

Time for some smug smiles in Colombia, perhaps, and some gnashing of teeth in Brazil: Ecopetrol has once again surpassed Petrobras as the largest listed energy company in Latin America by market capitalisation, even though production at Petrobras is about three times bigger.

How can that be? Read more

Never mind its recent fall in profits. Many energy companies would drool at Ecopetrol’s impressive growth rate so far.

Since 2008, Colombia’s state-controlled oil company has increased production at a rate of 16 per cent a year. “We are focused on sustaining this growth rate, which is not easy to do,” Javier Gutiérrez, Ecopetrol’s chief executive, told beyondbrics. Read more

Full-steam ahead, that’s how Colombia’s government is determined to set their “energy locomotive”, as they call their ambitious energy plans.

The Andean country is already the fourth-biggest oil exporter in the region, having almost doubled its production since 2006 to 956,312 barrels of oil a day. Read more

India’s Essar Oil will buy 12m barrels of crude oil from Colombia’s Ecopetrol over a year for $1.2bn, according to a person familiar with the deal.

Essar declined to comment, but Reuters also reported that Ecopetrol confirmed it had sent its first shipment of 2m barrles of oil on July 29, and that it would arrive 25 days later. Read more

Ecopetrol, the Colombian national oil company with proven reserves of about 1.8bn barrels, has a bigger market capitalisation than Petrobras, the Brazilian giant with 18bn barrels of reserves and, potentially, multiples of that in its vast new pre-salt oil fields.

That, at least, is what a São Paulo consultancy announced this week. And even if the boffins’ numbers don’t quite add up, something remarkable is going on. Read more