The Business Year

Maria Victoria Riaño

CEO, Equion Energí­a

Marco Antonio Toledo

President Director, Petrobras Colombia

Businesses and local actors are joining hands and efforts to thrust Colombia's economy toward higher growth levels.

How has the company performed over the last 12 months?

MARIA VICTORIA RIAí‘O We are still developing our fields in the Piedemonte license and following the established plan. Moreover, we recorded great financial results having implemented strategies for efficiency and greater cost effectiveness. Overall, the last year was productive for us despite being in the middle of a tough environment in terms of community issues, the peace process, and the relationship between the national and regional governments. We continued to operate in this environment and did what had to be done. We had to change and adapt to this environment by staying flexible, which has been a challenge, but the company has risen up to it.

MARCO ANTONIO TOLEDO The company had an intense second semester concentrated on the approval of plans for 2017, and we are moving on with those plans in 2018. Petrobras in Colombia is concentrated on offshore; we are the world leader in offshore production installation. For the coming years, the company has to continue along this trajectory. Colombia’s deep water fits well with the portfolio of Petrobras; that is one of the good alignments between our assets here—such as the offshore in Tayrona—that keep us on the line to continue investing in Colombia. We followed the scale of investment that companies have to do this year in offshore and onshore. In addition, we retained one onshore asset because we found potential materiality in a special area. What is also important is that the government knows that we can bring some activity and integration for the economy.

How do you assess Colombia’s current sociopolitical climate?

MVR Communication is an essential part of the business, and we always have to keep open lines of communication with communities and their leaders. We are always conscientious in our policies and open to conversation. We also want to involve ourselves in trying to tackle and solve various community problems. Oil drilling is not just a technical issue; it is also involves social, political, and economic issues. Let me add that in these communities there is a big challenge in terms of the lack of governance and the weakness of the local states, especially concerning the change in the royalty scheme. These rural communities with unsatisfied needs, therefore, look to the company as a way to solve those needs. We need to figure a balance in which the local government can comply with its obligations such as roads, education, health, and infrastructure. It is a delicate issue that takes a great deal of diplomatic and political finesse.

MAT We are witnessing the government releasing some stimulus initiatives for the industry in terms of taxation and deductions. The government has been listening to our needs and has been seeking ways to incentivize the sector and players in the sector; things are thus going in the right direction. We have a great synergy with the government in general, and also in the regions. As for challenges, the peace process is both an opportunity and a challenge, and for now we do not know what will happen. The uncertainty there is itself the challenge. Another challenge is being in the middle of the regional and national governments. All concerned parties need to settle outstanding issues in order to establish a healthy climate to conduct business; only then can Colombia’s economy properly takeoff.

What is your outlook for 2018 and beyond?

MVR 2020 will mark the end of our license, and that is our biggest priority and concern. We have to be extremely focused on efficiency and figure out how to deal with community issues through a great deal of negotiating with our partners. It is, thus, a challenging time, and there is no room for errors.

MAT 2018 is the year of onshore, with preparation for returning to offshore in 2019. Offshore needs more preparation time than onshore. The overall climate will settle, and a new phase will begin toward an even more prosperous Colombia.



You may also be interested in...

CO23_FI_ITAU Baruc Saez

COLOMBIA - Finance

Baruc Sáez


CEO, Itaú Colombia


COLOMBIA - Finance

Luis Carlos Sarmiento Gutiérrez


President, Grupo Aval

CO23_GE_TGI Mónica Contreras Esper

COLOMBIA - Green Economy

Mónica Contreras Esper


President, Transportadora de Gas Internacional (TGI)

View All interviews