Colombia to Sell Off Oil Shares for Emergency
By Dialogo January 04, 2011
Colombia will sell 10 percent of its shares in Ecuador’s state oil
giant, Ecopetrol, to fund its response to a devastating rainy season that has killed
303 people and left 2.2 million homeless, an official said.
Energy and Mining Minister Carlos Rodado said the sale should generate about
eight billion dollars which would be put in a reconstruction fund for infrastructure
projects such as highways and bridges.
An extraordinarily heavy rainy season, which forecasters blame on the La Niña
weather phenomenon, has left widespread devastation in Colombia and major damage in
Venezuela to the east.
The share sale is one of several major measures being taken by President Juan
Manuel Santos’ government to respond to the crisis. Taxes also are being
raised to generate another two billion dollars for the response.
Damage has been considerable over 85 percent of Colombian territory, and has
been estimated at some five billion dollars.
The annual rainy season has been exacerbated by a La Niña phenomenon, in
which cooler-than-normal water circulates in the Pacific Ocean around the