U.S. Trade and Development Agency
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Telephone (703) 875-4357 * Fax (703) 875-4009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MEDIA INQUIRIES:
USTDA AWARDS OVER $1.3 MILLION IN GRANTS TO FURTHER
DEVELOP COLOMBIA’S HYDROCARBON RESOURCES
Participants in the USTDA grant signing ceremony included (left to right) U.S. Commercial Specialist Julio Carbó, U.S. Commercial Attaché Geoffrey Bogart, Ecopetrol Acting Vice President for Refining Jorge Lozano, ANH Director Armando Zamora, Ecopetrol Vice President for Transportation Pedro Rosales, USTDA Director Askey, USTDA Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Al Angulo, and USTDA Country Manager Keith Eischeid.
BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA – (April 10, 2006) Support for Colombian efforts to develop the country’s hydrocarbon resources to attract new investments and promote economic growth is the goal of three U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grants awarded today. The three grants represent a total of $1.35 million in support of Colombia’s development.
Two of the grants will fund separate feasibility studies for Ecopetrol S.A., Colombia’s state-owned oil company, on the proposed modernization of Barrancabermeja oil refinery and increased safety, security, and integrity associated with Colombia’s hydrocarbon pipeline system. The third grant will support technical assistance for the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) in improving its capacity to carry out its upstream licensing and tender responsibilities.
“These grants reflect the value that the United States places on its relationship with Colombia,” said USTDA Director Thelma J. Askey in remarks about today’s grant awards. “In addition to establishing an investment climate in the hydrocarbon sector that will attract new investors, these agreements will help to fuel Colombia’s economic growth consistent with the goals of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).”
Director Askey signed agreements to officially confer the grants during a ceremony held at the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Ecopetrol Vice President of Transport Dr. Pedro A. Rosales, Ecopetrol Acting Vice President of Refining Jorge Lozano, and ANH Director General José Armando Zamora, signed the respective grant agreements on behalf of Ecopetrol and ANH. His Excellency Luis Ernesto Mejía, Colombian Minister of Mines and Energy, and Mr. Albert W. Angulo, USTDA Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, signed as witnesses to the grant agreements.
The United States and Colombia are important trading partners and bilateral trade is expected to increase when the U.S.-Colombia FTA, which was concluded in February, is implemented. Strengthening the environment in Colombia for investment in the nation’s hydrocarbon resources will promote the nation’s economic development consistent with the goals of the FTA.
The first grant to Ecopetrol, in the amount of $500,000, responds to Ecopetrol’s efforts to improve safety and security, and to reduce crude oil and petroleum product loss from its hydrocarbon pipeline system. Specifically, the grant will support a feasibility study addressing overall pipeline system safety, security, and maintenance requirements.
A second grant, valued at $600,000, will fund the development of a master plan for the modernization of the Barrancabermeja oil refinery. Current projected demand and production levels in the areas of the country supplied by the refinery demonstrate an increasing deficit of middle distillates, such as diesel, and a surplus of gasoline. The integrated master plan supported by the USTDA grant will address Ecopetrol’s options in upgrading the refinery to manufacture more middle distillates.
Under the third grant awarded today, totaling $250,000, ANH officials will receive technical assistance in reforming the agency’s licensing policy, developing tenders based on international standards, evaluating bids, and negotiating contracts in a manner consistent with international best practices. In addition, the technical assistance will support ANH in the development of a world-class marketing strategy to attract foreign investors to participate in the development of Colombia’s hydrocarbon sector.
The opportunities to conduct the feasibility studies and provide the technical assistance under the grants awarded today will be competed separately on the Federal Business Opportunities website at www.fedbizopps.gov. Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions contained in the Federal Business Opportunities announcements. Ecopetrol and ANH will select the U.S. contractors that will provide the assistance funded by their respective USTDA grants.
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits, and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment. USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment, and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.