Ex-Im Bank approves nearly $1 billion for U.S. exports to Colombia's Ecopetrol

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) on Monday announced that it has given final approval to a $420 million medium-term loan guarantee facility and a $459.8 million long-term loan guarantee facility to help finance the sale of goods and services from various U.S. exporters to Ecopetrol S.A., Colombia's national oil company.

Ecopetrol will use the financing to buy the products and services from U.S. companies large and small, to develop oil and gas reserves, improve existing oil field production and upgrade refineries, while the company plans to significantly increase petroleum production to 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2015, the bank said.

The long-term loan guarantee facility is expected to provide support to modernize the Berrancabermeja refinery, Colombia's largest refinery, with total project costs estimated at approximately $4 billion.  

Meanwhile, the medium-term loan guarantee facility is looking to support company-wide capital investments. Using the proceeds of both facilities, Ecopetrol will be able to process heavy crude and significantly increase its overall production capacity.

"This transaction will provide U.S. exporters the ability to sell goods and services to this important market, while helping Ecopetrol expand production and contributing to Colombia's economic growth," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred P. Hochberg.

"The news of the decisions of the Ex-Im Bank board to approve the loan guarantee facilities is excellent," said Ecopetrol President Javier Gutierrez. "It will allow Ecopetrol to more easily purchase U.S. services to expand its investments in exploration, production, refinery modernization and clean energy."

Gutierrez underlined Ecopetrol's commitment to environmental best practices, adding that the company is actively developing bio-fuels. He also said Ex-Im Bank's support would enable Ecopetrol to pursue the use of clean technologies in the production of gasoline and diesel fuels, and significantly upgrade and streamline production processes.

Furthermore, Gutierrez said Ex-Im Bank's support would have an important impact on industrial and social development in Barracabermeja and other areas of Colombia, including major improvements in worker education, and creation of new jobs and businesses.

Colombia is one of nine dynamic economies with a growing search for infrastructure development that Ex-Im Bank has identified as offering U.S. companies the greatest opportunities for increased export sales.


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