Overview of Infrastructure in Colombia

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Pipelines, Refineries and Terminals

As of 2011 Colombia had six major oil pipelines crossing the country: (Ocensa; Cano-Limon; Llanos Orientales; Alto Magdalena; Colombia Oil and Transandino) four of which connect oil and gas fields to the Caribbean export terminal at Covenas. The Bicentennial Pipeline is in development and due to be completed in 2012.

Downstream, Colombia had a 290,850 barrels per day (bpd) crude oil refining capacity in 2010 and has five major refineries, all owned by Ecopetrol. The Barrancabermeja Refinery and the Cartagena Refinery represent the majority of the country's capacity.[1]

Colombia's Infrastructure Bottleneck

Infrastructure and connectivity have always been a challenge for Colombia, due to its geography of high peaks and dense jungle dividing the different regions. The government's 45-year conflict against rebel groups has been a further barrier to efficient infrastructure.

Following a dramatic improvement in the security environment in the 21st century, investors are beginning to return.[2]

However insufficient infrastructure still remains a major obstacle to meeting the country's production targets for oil and gas output. The President of the Colombian Infrastructure Chamber commented in 2011 that the "monumental backwardness" of Colombia's transport network was perhaps it's biggest obstacle to economic growth.[3]

According to industry analyst Jamie Somerville in 2011 "virtually every company has been impacted by infrastructure problems in the Llanos basin.... Everyone highlighted oil transportation and infrastructure as a key challenge for the industry this year." Many of these concerns stemmed from reduced output along the Ocensa pipeline in late 2011. A report by the Council of the Americas suggested that output is limited by up to 30,000 bpd due to a lack of adequate transport infrastructure.[2]

Nevertheless, recently investment in infrastructure has begun to flood into Colombia. This was given a boost by the announcement in January 2012 that construction company 'El Condor' would make an $111m initial public offering (IPO) in order to invest the capital in infrastructure across the country.[2]

Ecopetrol and its partners have also been making investments totalling more than US $2 billion to increase capacity along the country's pipelines, at storage facilities and at truck/tank unloading platforms, according to their official website. This investment is carried out within the framework of the 'Crude Export Plan' for 2011 and beyond. Of the total of $960 million invested between 2010-2011, $522 million came from Ecopetrol and $275 million from Ecopetrol partnerships.[4]


  1. "Colombia" EIA, retrieved 22 January 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "El Condor IPO and Colombia’s peace dividend" Financial Times, 26 January 2012.
  3. "Bridging the gaps" Economist, 17 September 2011.
  4. "Race Against the Clock" Ecopetrol, retrieved 27 January 2012.