According to Mercedes Rincón, member of Congress, in view of the profits that currently Ecopetrol earns, it is clear that the government was wrong when, two years ago, it tried to sell 10% of the company’s shares that owned. As reported by El Nuevo Siglo, the congresswoman believes that the government’s aborted attempt to sell another 10% would have been a bad idea and it has proven better to have held onto the shares.
Ecopetrol continues its publicity campaign about local employment and procurement. This time it is the turn of employment, highlighting how many jobs the company creates and how many are filled with local people. With local hiring being a developing community issue, this Ecopetrol press release is timely. Translated and with commentary by Hydrocarbons Colombia.
Ecopetrol has invested in the Ventures contest which encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. The contest spans a wide range of economic activities but Ecopetrol has chosen to invest in the Education and Culture component for the past two years. The connection with the oil and gas is secondary but the cause is worthy. From an Ecopetrol press release, translated and with commentary by Hydrocarbons Colombia.
This Ecopetrol press release details the company’s local procurement activities by region. Local procurement has become an issue because the communities in which oil and gas companies operate have lost line of sight to the benefits having hydrocarbons activity in the vicinity. The costs – like roads clogged with tanker trucks – are readily apparent but since the reform of the royalties distribution system, only local procurement is a sure route to jobs. Translated and with commentary by Hydrocarbons Colombia.
Since September 27th 2011, Ecopetrol and Pacific Rubiales have disputed the interpretation of a clause in the Quifa Association Contract. According to this clause, which refers to high prices, Ecopetrol should have greater participation in the profits when oil prices rise and the cumulative production reaches 5M barrels; a figure which was reached in April 2011.
As reported by La Republica, Bank of America and JP Morgan made new recommendations to shareholders about the Ecopetrol’s share. Bank of America described the Ecopetrol’s share as “low performance” and reduced its price objective from US$3 to US$2,75, because they expect the company’s performance will continue to decline by 8% per year through 2014. Meanwhile, JP Morgan said: “The combination of a reduction in production, rising security concerns and ongoing delays in environmental permits will impact the company’s ability to deliver a significant increase in production and operations results in the medium term “.
Ecopetrol issued a brief press release with its year-end 2012 reserve figures. After rising 10% in each of the previous two years, Ecopetrol only managed a 1% increase in reserves in 2012. Revisions played an important role, representing 45Mboe or 17.5% of the additions. Enhanced recovery contributed 26% leaving new discoveries and extensions with 57% of the additions. In this early release of the numbers, the company did not separate Colombian from non-Colombian reserves. It only said that 95% came from the “mothership” versus 5% for subsidiaries which include Colombian subsidiaries like Hocol and Equion. Considering the importance the government puts on reserves and the importance of Ecopetrol to overall statistics, this result has to be a disappointment.
Last Friday Ecopetrol announced its financial results and despite the spin – “second best profits in history” – they were in fact down from 2011. Consolidated Net Income was down 4.4% over 2011 and the chart shows this was not caused by accounting, foreign exchange or other easier to rationalize explanations. These non-cash items actually improved results since Operating Income was down 6.4% and EBITDA down 3.2%: it was operations that sunk the ship. And this despite a 4.4% increase in consolidated revenues and a 4.1% increase in crude oil production. The only hero in this story is Exploration and Production which produces almost all of the profits and even it saw margin declines in 2012. Most of the other businesses Ecopetrol is involved with do not. If this were a normal company, institutional shareholders would be screaming to break it up.
Minority shareholders of Ecopetrol proposed Roberto Steiner Sampedro as an independent member of the company’s board. Steiner will be included for the position in the ninth row of the sheet that the Ministry of Finance will submit to the General Assembly of Shareholders. To this end, the minority shareholders submitted a “Shareholders’ Agreement” signed by representatives of seven pension funds.
Business magazine Dinero reports that Ecopetrol agreed to finance in pesos US$1B of its US$2B investment budget for this year, after the government recently requested the company to finance its operations in local currency instead of dollars (as we reported). The announcement was made by Minminas Mauricio Cardenas, who said that the projects will be funded: “The vast majority, over 50%, hopefully more than 60%, will be in local currency.”