OREANDA-NEWS. Colombian crude production fell by 5pc to 982,000 b/d in January compared with the same month of 2015, reflecting pipeline restrictions and field maintenance.

January output was down by 1.2pc compared to December, according to the energy ministry.

Technical maintenance at Canadian independent Pacific Exploration and Production's Rubiales and Quifa fields as well as pumping limitations on the 220,000 b/d Ca?o Lim?n-Cove?as pipeline contributed to the decline.

The pipeline was pulled off line in January to repair illicit valves. Criminal groups regularly tap the pipeline for crude, which drug-trafficking groups refine and use for cocaine production.

Colombia averaged 1.005mn b/d of crude production in 2015.

The finance ministry recently revised down its 2016 oil production target from 1mn b/d to 944,000 b/d on sustained low oil prices.

Assuming the new official production target and oil prices of $30-40/bl, Colombian oil services chamber Campetrol estimates the country's reserves-to-production ratio at 4.9 years, compared with 6.4 years at the end of 2014.

The government is expected to issue fresh data on reserves by April 2016.

"The national government needs to inject funds into [state-controlled] Ecopetrol in order to start an aggressive exploration program, which will not only ensure future growth, but also incorporate reserves and maintain energy self-sufficiency," Campetrol said on 8 February.

The government is battling to keep up investment in the sector as export revenue shrinks.

Exports of crude and refined products brought in $14.1bn in 2015, down by 51pc compared to 2014, according to the national statistics agency DANE.

Oil regulator ANH is targeting 33 exploration wells for 2016 compared to a goal of 63 in 2015.

Colombia averaged 1.051bn ft3/d (29.4mn m3/d) of natural gas production in January, down slightly from January 2015 and up by 1.5pc from December last year.

New production from Canadian independent Canacol Energy's Cordoba fields was the main contributor to Colombia's month-to-month increase.