Colombian petroleum company Ecopetrol (NYSE: EC, BVC: ECO) has announced that for the first half of 2019, asphalt sales have reached 212,888 tons, representing an increase of 47% over the same semester of 2018, and the highest amount in the past 3 years.
The company attributes the sales volume to the reactivation of mega-infrastructure projects in Colombia. Domestic demand jumped 30% from 131,457 tons to 170,477 tons, the same period.
The output of Ecopetrol’s Barrancabermeja refinery and high international prices allowed asphalt exports to grow 216% from 12,421 tons to 42,409 tons. Most exported asphalt was destined for the United States, followed by Puerto Rico, then Bolivia.
Ecopetrol intends to increase asphalt production starting in September with the modification of the crude blends being fed into its Apiay refinery in Meta. This plant has started to produce approximately 3,000 tons per month to supply regional needs.
“We are taking advantage of the domestic market dynamics to increase our sales, at the same time, we are betting on positioning our asphalt in nearby markets, though we are not discounting sending product to Asia or Europe,” said Pedro Manrique, Ecopetrol’s vice president of sales.
Ecopetrol estimates that the demand for asphalt will remain constant, with domestic demand exceeding 350,000 tons, and export demand exceeding 70,000 tons in 2019.