(Includes graph, quarterly production figures, extra quote)
Feb 28 (Reuters) - Colombia's majority state-owned oil company Ecopetrol on Tuesday reported record net profit of 33.4 trillion pesos ($6.9 billion) for 2022, double the previous year, boosted by higher oil prices and greater-than-expected production.
Ecopetrol also reported a fourth-quarter net profit of 6.85 trillion pesos, up 13% from a year earlier.
"During 2022 Ecopetrol continued to deliver historic operating and financial results which were superior to those forecast at the start of the year," Ecopetrol Chief Executive Felipe Bayon said in a statement.
Bayon will stand down as CEO on March 31. A successor has not yet been named.
The company reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 75.2 trillion pesos for the year - up 79% versus 2021 - while fourth-quarter EBITDA rose 14% to 16 trillion pesos, the company said.
Total sales in 2022 also rose by almost 74% to 159.5 trillion pesos, while fourth-quarter sales grew 25% to 39.7 trillion pesos, the company said in a filing.
The results were helped by a combination of favorable prices, increased contributions from the company's operations in the Permian basin, record performance from refineries, and a solid performance by Colombian electricity generator ISA, Ecopetrol said.
In 2021, Ecopetrol said it would acquire 51.4% of circulating ISA shares as part of its plans to diversify its energy interests.
Production for the year averaged 709,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), up 4.5% from the 679,000 boepd reported in 2021 and higher than the forecast range of 700,000 to 705,000 boepd, Ecopetrol said.
Production in the fourth quarter rose 3.7% to 720,1000 boepd, versus the year-earlier period, the company added.
Ecopetrol's exploration in 2022 yielded two successful offshore wells - Uchuva-1 and Gorgon-2 - in the country's Caribbean, paving the way for more exploration over the next three years, Bayon said.
"In the coming years ... we see seven additional wells in the Caribbean," Bayon told journalists at a press conference in Bogota.
The company also announced an extraordinary dividend bringing its total payout to 593 pesos per share, the highest level in the firm's history, it said.
($1 = 4,808.14 Colombian pesos)
(Reporting by Noe Torres and Sarah Morland in Mexico City and Oliver Griffin and Carlos Vargas in Bogota; Writing by Valentine Hilaire and Oliver Griffin; Editing by David Alire Garcia, Aurora Ellis and Bill Berkrot)