October 25, 2011 / 1:12 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-Colombia's Ecopetrol reports record profit, output

* Profit of $2.19 billion the most in any quarter

* Third-quarter production of 731,500 boe also a new high

* EBITDA margin of 47 pct compared to 41 pct year ago

(Adds details on earnings)

By Daniel Trotta

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Colombia’s state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol reported record profits and production in the third quarter, reflecting an oil boom in the South American country.

Higher international oil prices, improved performance from affiliated companies and a favorable foreign exchange rate also contributed to a 132.1 percent surge in third quarter consolidated net earnings, the company said on Monday.

The bottom line profit of 4.15 trillion pesos ($2.2 billion) marked the highest of any quarter in its history, surpassing the 3.9 trillion pesos recorded in the third quarter of 2008, when international oil prices were at their peak.

Net production of oil and gas climbed 13.7 percent 567,800 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day while gross production increased 13.4 percent to 677,500 boe.

When considering all subsidiaries and affiliates, production totaled a record 731,500 barrels per day, up 15.7 percent, and the 9-month figure of 716,000 boe broke the company record of 616,000 set in 2010.

“We had a very active third quarter. ... The company once again reached historically high financial and operational results,” Chief Executive Javier Gutierrez said in a statement.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose 89.1 percent, good for an EBITDA margin of 47 percent compared to 41 percent a year ago.

Operating profit was up 133.8 percent.

Ecopetrol drilled 15 wells over the 9-month period, of which 8 struck oil, the company said.

Colombia still faces Latin America’s longest running guerrilla insurgency, but rebel forces have been severely curtailed since a 2002 U.S.-backed security crackdown that has opened up areas of the country to exploration.

National oil production has ramped up to a record 950,000 barrels per day as easing security concerns have allowed greater exploitation of heavy crude areas in addition to incremental production increases at existing fields. (Editing by Carol Bishopric and Bernard Orr)

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