Oil company B.P. will invest more than $300 million in Colombia in 2010 and 2011 as it expands its gas and oil production in the country, the local company president said on Friday.
BP Exploration Company Colombia President Alberto Galvis, said expansion plans have not changed despite a massive oil leak in the U.S Gulf of Mexico.
Galvis said BP's investment in Colombia would be around $150 million in 2010 and above that next year.
"We're going to forge ahead with this investment," he told reporters at an international oil and mining conference in Cartagena.
Colombia, Latin America's No. 4 oil producer, has seen a "mini-boom" in energy investment as companies have stepped up exploration after improvements in security under President Alvaro Uribe.
Uribe remains popular for making many areas of the country safer with his U.S.-backed crackdown on leftist rebels. The conservative leader steps down this year after two terms, with elections set for May 30.
Colombia has increased its oil production to nearly 800,000 barrels per day from 500,000 bpd in the last three years.
The government has also certified about 3.1 billion barrels in oil reserves, including proven, probable and possible reserves, double the country's average over recent years.
The surge has come from heavy investment and exploration from companies such as local Ecopetrol ECO.CN and foreign firms like Canada's Pacific Rubiales Energy.
Colombia's output hit an all-time high 820,000 bpd in the 1990s on high production in the Cusiana and Cupiaga oil wells operated by BP.
Galvis said BP hopes a gas plant in Cusiana-Cupiaga, which has been expanded to 270 million cubic feet, will be operational by September. (Reuters)