What factors explain the company's financial strength, and how is Ecopetrol seizing this situation for its long-term benefit?
On August 25, we commemorated our 70th anniversary, and the results achieved during the first half of 2021 reiterate our capacity to generate sustainable value and to quickly and timely respond and adapt to changing external conditions. We have demonstrated resilience and competitiveness during challenging situations. The financial result for 2Q2021 is the best ever recorded in the history of the Ecopetrol Group, with a consolidated revenue of COP19.4 trillion. Moreover, in the first semester of the year, we recorded a consolidated revenue of COP36.7 trillion. Some of the factors that contributed to these positive results were the increase in Permian's production, our continued commitment to cost optimization and capturing efficiencies, as well as an excellent performance of our commercial strategy, which allowed us to take advantage of favorable oil prices and the average exchange rate observed in the quarter. Furthermore, maintaining focus on our strategy as an integrated oil and gas company, we continue to take important steps toward increasing the competitiveness of our current assets, diversification to low-emission businesses, decarbonization and climate change mitigation, and incorporating technology, environmental, social, and governance (TESG) at the top of our agenda.
How is Ecopetrol's commercial relation with China, the US, Europe, and the Gulf of Mexico developing, and what role do these markets have in strengthening trade prospects?
Ecopetrol aims to build long-term relationships with our more than 270 clients in order to become an ally of their businesses and add value through reliable, close, and transparent interactions. Our two main markets in terms of demand have been and continue to be the US and China. In 2012, about 16% of our crude oil export volumes were shipped to Asia, while today that figure is around 65%, with China representing around 37%. We have been able to access the independent refinery segment in this country, which is one of the world's fastest-growing refining markets. Since 2018, we supply a regular flow with our flagship Castilla Blend crude to an independent refinery in Shandong province. We also maintain a close relationship with Chinese state-owned companies such as Petrochina and Sinopec. We recently created a trading company in Singapore, the epicenter of the world's crude oil and product transactions. Today, the US represents about 35% of our total exports volume.
Ecopetrol has joined a coalition of leading companies in the world in their commitment to transparent reporting. What is the significance of this measure?
Ecopetrol Group maintains its commitment to sustainability and transparency through the most efficient mechanisms and complying with the highest global standards in terms of information disclosure. For instance, Ecopetrol was the first company in Latin America to adhere to the World Economic Forum's Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics. So far, we have incorporated 21 core metrics, and 24 out of the 34 expanded metrics. We are convinced that our reporting ecosystem represents an opportunity to better communicate with our stakeholders and to address their information needs from different standpoints.
Ecopetrol is also focusing on promoting innovation and problem solving through programs such as InnóvaTe. Can you give us an overview of the impact achieved with InnóvaTe?
InnóvaTe is an open innovation contest led by Ecopetrol S.A. and the Corporation for Education Institutions Network, Research and Development of the Colombian East (UNIRED) with the goal of finding innovative solutions to technological challenges in the energy sector. Since 2015, this initiative has sought solutions to 20 industry challenges. Most importantly, eight new technology-based companies have been created. In 2021, we are promoting four challenges to strengthen the fight against COVID-19, the decentralized generation of renewable electricity, and expanding social access knowledge. In addition to InnóvaTE, with the support of CEmprende, we have launched the 100x100 Challenge, an open initiative to find 100 digital solutions to solve 100 challenges that the company is facing today.