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Ecopetrol halts modernisation at the Barrancabermeja refinery

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Ecopetrol S.A. has reported that its Board of Directors approved a 2016 - 2020 road map for the Barrancabermeja refinery, with the objective of maximising its long term competitiveness and sustainability, as established in Ecopetrol's strategic plan announced in May 2015.

The crude oversupply in the international oil and gas markets has deteriorated oil prices. Under this environment, Ecopetrol, in line with industry trends, has focused on making its operations profitable by optimising costs and implementing strict austerity measures, in addition to adjusting its investment plan, only approving projects that create the highest value and generate the most cash flows in the short term.

In this challenging scenario, and in an effort to ensure the financial sustainability of the Ecopetrol group, Ecopetrol has decided that it is necessary to suspend the Barrancabermeja Refinery Modernisation Plan (PMRB) until the oil price environment allows investments to be made in such a major project.

The Barrancabermeja refinery is a fundamental asset for diversifying risks among Ecopetrol's various businesses. It is necessary to improve the refinery's operating excellence, increasing cash generation and implementing new measures that will allow the Barrancabermeja refinery to become an efficient asset that is operated according to the best international standards.

The Barrancabermeja refinery achieved excellent operating results in 2015. Looking forward, Ecopetrol will make incremental investments in order to ensure reliability and integrity of the performance of the Barrancabermeja refinery, as well as investing in programmes that are critical for its operation and maintenance.

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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