Yesterday, Colombian state-controlled oil giant Ecopetrol paid out an annual dividend totaling roughly $153 million USD (421 billion pesos) to its more than 341,000 minority shareholders.
The Colombian government, which owns the vast majority of Ecopetrol shares, will receive a dividend of around $1.17 billion USD (3.2 trillion pesos).
Shareholders received 89 pesos per share, or roughly $32 USD for every 1,000 shares, a figure that was approved at the Bogotá-based company’s March 23 general assembly.
The Colombian government, which owns the vast majority of Ecopetrol shares, will receive a dividend of around $1.17 billion USD (3.2 trillion pesos). The sum is being distributed in two separate payments, one that was completed yesterday on April 19 and the second that will be paid on September 17, the company said in a statement.
The combined total of 3.6 trillion pesos represents a distribution of 55% of Ecopetrol’s profits in 2017.
With more than $2.3 billion USD in profits last year, the company, which has been embattled in an environmental crisis following a well rupture that spilled a substantial amount of oil in Colombia last month, posted its best results in four years.
That windfall is helping Ecopetrol to up its investment in exploration this year, drilling more wells as it looks to expand reserves that have fallen considerably in recent years.
“2017 was a year of intense exploratory activity, as we worked hard to build the foundations for the company’s future growth,” said Felipe Bayon Pardo, chief executive officer of Ecopetrol S.A., earlier this year.
“We ended the year with a total of 21 wells drilled,” added the CEO. “Through this deployment of activity we succeeded in incorporating more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent in contingent resources, leveraging the future increase in the business group’s reserves.”
Along with hitting a production goal of up to 725,000 barrels of oil per day in 2018, Ecopetrol began the year with plans to drill at least 620 development wells and 12 exploratory wells. Some 20 pilot projects were also planned in an attempt to further improve oil recovery from existing wells, according to Bayon.
Photo: Ecopetrol headquarters in Bogotá, Colombia (Credit: Dvalencia)