By Nelson Bocanegra

BOGOTA, Oct 5 (Reuters)Colombia plans to substitute some of its planned 2020 financing in dollars for a local debt emission of about 5 trillion pesos ($1.28 bln), three market sources with knowledge of the plan told Reuters on Monday.

The ministry will extend auctions of local so-called TES bonds until November in order to raise the projected funds.

TES paper is the country’s second top source of financing after tax collection.

The Finance Ministry plans to move ahead with pre-financing needs for 2021 and is considering an internal debt swap on the local market, the sources said.

The ministry did not have an immediate response to a request for comment.

In early September, director of public credit Cesar Arias told Reuters Colombia would carry out public debt swaps with multilateral banks to reduce its exchange rate exposure amid higher debt due to coronavirus and evaluate opportunities to extend expiries on local bonds.

Colombia has been obliged to look for billions of dollars in funding by issuing bonds and obtaining credit with organizations like the Inter-American Development Bank to deal with economic upheaval from the coronavirus pandemic. The efforts have increased its exposure to international exchange rates.

The International Monetary Fund increased the country’s flexible credit line late last month to $17.3 billion to help it weather the crisis. The government may release about $5.3 billion.

The credit line, valid until April 2022, was originally for $10.8 billion.

($1 = 3,881.80 Colombian pesos)

(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)

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(Reuters) – Debt-laden U.S. oil producer Occidental Petroleum Corp

said on Thursday it has agreed to sell its onshore assets in Colombia to private equity firm Carlyle Group Inc

for $825 million.

The cash-strapped company said it is continuing to advance other asset sales as it tries to find cash to pay off debt amid a crude price crash. It has so far announced over $2 billion worth of divestitures this year.

The Colombia assets sale, expected to close in the fourth quarter, includes the company’s operations and working interests in the Llanos Norte, Middle Magdalena and Putumayo Basins.

The company has operated in the Andean country alongside Colombia’s majority state-owned Ecopetrol

for more than 40 years. The two companies also have a joint venture in the Permian Basin in the United States.

Occidental said it will retain a presence in the South American country through its offshore exploration blocks.

“We have expanded our strategic partnership with Ecopetrol to the onshore U.S. and to exploration blocks offshore Colombia,” Occidental Chief Executive Vicki Hollub said in a statement. “These highly prospective offshore blocks hold tremendous potential that could significantly bolster the country’s energy resources.”

A spokesman for Ecopetrol said the company had no comment on the sale of assets.

Occidental’s debt ballooned after it paid $38 billion to buy Anadarko Petroleum last year, an ill-timed bet on rising oil prices. The company had total long term debt of $36.03 billion as of the end of June, according to Refinitiv data.

In August, the company said it would sell some of its Wyoming, Colorado and Utah assets to Orion Mine Finance for about $1.33 billion.

(Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Oliver Griffin in Bogota; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Jonathan Oatis)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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