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Colombia’s Ecopetrol Offices Visited by Competition Regulator

BOGOTA, March 30 (Reuters) – The offices of Colombia’s majority state-owned oil company Ecopetrol ECO.CN have been visited by officials of the fair competition regulator, the Superintendent of Industry and Commerce (SIC), the company said on Thursday.

High ranking Ecopetrol directors were interviewed during the “administrative visit” on Wednesday and Thursday, the day of the Bogota-based company’s annual shareholders meeting, it said.

Ecopetrol, Colombia’s biggest company, is seeking a replacement for Chief Executive Felipe Bayon, who steps down on Friday, to lead a transition towards greener energy. Ecopetrol is Colombia’s largest producer of oil, a major export and source of income for Latin America’s fourth-largest economy.

Weaning Colombia off its dependence on oil and gas exports is a key policy of leftist President Gustavo Petro, who took control of the Andean country last August.

“The company expresses its collaboration with the Superintendent and the steps it takes to guarantee fair competition,” Ecopetrol said in a statement, adding it would not comment further on the visit.

“This preliminary stage is to determine if it is necessary to carry out a formal investigation over the commission of infractions against fair competition,” the SIC said in a separate statement.

No one is considered to be under investigation at this stage, the SIC said, noting it would not comment further on reasons for the visit.

Ecopetrol last week named its Chief Operating Officer Alberto Consuegra as interim CEO to replace Bayon as of Friday.

Source : Nasdaq