Running Out of Time
Colombia will soon become a net importer of oil unless it can attract more investment. International oil companies want the government to offer them a better deal.
Colombia's main oil pipeline snakes its way 700 kilometers
from the Caño Limón oilfield to an export
terminal on the Caribbean coast. Guerrillas have attacked the
pipeline nearly 900 times since the mid-1980s. In 2001 alone,
140 attacks led to $500 million in lost oil revenues. All the
same, Caño Limón, operated by Occidental Oil, a
US company, is one of Colombia's richest oilfields. But a
replacement for the ageing oilfield has yet to be found and
Colombia's crude oil output has dropped by a quarter since 1999
to 591,000 barrels per day. Foreign investment in the oil
industry is dwindling - Colombia's oil industry attracted just
$347 million in 2001 - and the country could well become a net
oil importer next year, just as the economy is emerging from
recession and the government needs more money to pay for its
war against guerrilla armies....
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