Colombian oil firm Ecopetrol has signed a US$5bn deal with four international banks to expand its Cartagena refinery project.

BTMU, BBVA, HSBC and SMBC are acting as the mandated lead arrangers on the deal, while Italy’s export credit agency Sace is providing the insurance.

The project will enable Ecopetrol to double the production capacity of the Cartagena refinery from 80,000 barrels a day to 165,000 to meet the growing demand from Colombia, the US and Europe.

“This transaction confirms Sace’s commitment to support Italian companies involved in great industrial development projects in Latin American emerging markets, where it has its own representative office in Sao Paolo,” Sace says in a statement.

Ecopetrol was last in the market in February 2011 with a US$1bn loan from BNP Paribas.