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Ecopetrol closed 2019 with proven reserves 10% higher

BOGOTA, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Colombia's state-owned oil company Ecopetrol said on Thursday an independent assessment found its proven reserves of oil and gas had increased 9.6% at the end of last year, equivalent to 7.8 years of production.

Ecopetrol closed 2019 with 1.89 billion barrels of oil equivalent in proven reserves, also known as 1P reserves, up from 1.73 billion barrels at the end of 2018, it said in a statement.

In 2019 Ecopetrol produced 242 million barrels of oil equivalent but added 408 million barrels in 1P reserves.

For every barrel produced, the company replaced it with 1.69 barrels, the highest replacement ratio in the last nine years, Ecopetrol added.

Of the added reserves 60% came as a result of technical management and financial optimization of the company's assets, as well as investment in new projects, Ecopetrol said.

Another 164 million barrels of oil equivalent came from the development of unconventional deposits in the U.S. Permian Basin in partnership with Occidental Petroleum Corp.

The company said crude made up 73% of its total proven reserves, equivalent to some 7.2 years, with gas accounting for the remaining 27% of reserves, or 10.4 years of production.

(Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Richard Chang)