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Press release from PR Newswire

Ecopetrol Strengthens its Presence on the Gulf Coast of the United States

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ecopetrol Strengthens its Presence on the Gulf Coast of the United States09:30 EST Thursday, December 15, 2011The company has 100% participation in the 7 blocks, with which will have interests in 119 blocks in a region with a high potential for oil and gas.BOGOTA, Colombia, Dec. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ecopetrol S.A. (BVC: ECOPETROL; NYSE: EC; BVL: EC; TSX: ECP), through its subsidiary in the United States (Ecopetrol America Inc.), submitted the best bids for 7 blocks offered in the round "Oil & Gas Lease Sale 218", as was disclosed yesterday in New Orleans by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the governmental authority in charge of the process in the U.S.  Ecopetrol's interest in all blocks is 100%, with an area of 163 square kilometers, and they are located on the western part of the Gulf Coast in the United States, in areas known as East Breaks and Keathley Canyon.(Logo: )The official awarding of the blocks will be conducted by BOEM in the coming months, after the checking of bids and ascertaining that the companies fulfill the conditions required for the round.  The results obtained strengthen the position of Ecopetrol in one of the most developed regions and with the greatest potential for discovery and production of oil and gas in the world.  The Gulf Coast of the United States is one of the focus areas of Ecopetrol's internationalization strategy.The new blocks are added to the 19 obtained on the Gulf Coast in 2010, along with other oil companies.  With these 7 blocks, the company will increase its participation in this region to 119 blocks.Ecopetrol announced its first discovery on the Gulf Coast this past October 27th, at the Logan-1 well, where it holds a 20% participation, which is operated by the Norwegian company Statoil.Ecopetrol is the largest company in Colombia and a firm integrated into the petroleum chain, ranked among the 40 largest petroleum companies in the world, and one of the four principal petroleum companies in Latin America. In addition to Colombia, where it generates more than 60% of domestic production, it has a presence in exploration and production activities in Brazil, Peru and the United States (Gulf of Mexico).  Ecopetrol is the owner of the largest refinery in Colombia, the largest part of the network of oil pipelines and multi-use pipelines in the country, and it is significantly increasing its involvement in biofuels.This press release contains statements concerning business prospects, estimates of operating and financial results, and assertions concerning Ecopetrol's prospects for growth.  These are all projections, and as such, they are based solely on the expectations of management with respect to the future of the company and its continuing access to capital to finance the company's business plan.  The fulfillment of such estimates in the future depends on the behavior of the market, regulations, competition, and the performance of the Colombian economy and industry, among other factors; therefore, these projections are subject to change without prior notice.For more information, please contact: Director of Investor Relations Alejandro Giraldo Phone: +571-234-5190 Fax: +571-234-5628 E-mail: Relations (Colombia) Jorge Mauricio Tellez Phone: +571-234-4329 Fax: +571-234-4480 E-mail: SOURCE Ecopetrol S.A.