(Adds production, refining and transport info, quotes)
MEXICO CITY/BOGOTA May 9 (Reuters) - Colombia's majority state-owned oil company Ecopetrol on Tuesday reported its first-quarter net profit fell 14% from a year earlier, as its cost of sales rose and crude oil prices slid over the start of 2023.
Costs of sales jumped 27% in the quarter, the company said in a statement, citing higher electricity and transport costs, while crude oil prices suffered from slower Chinese demand, certain OPEC decisions, higher U.S. stocks and interest rate hikes.
Ecopetrol's net profit landed at 5.7 trillion pesos ($1.26 billion), down from 6.6 trillion pesos a year earlier.
"In our hydrocarbons segment, we highlight a good operating performance based on an increase in production, refining margins and profits, and transported volumes," new Chief Executive Ricardo Roa said in a statement.
Ecopetrol's results come after Mexican national oil company Pemex reported its first-quarter net profit nearly halved to $3.15 billion on weaker sales.
Quarterly earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), however, rose 12.2% to 17.84 trillion pesos while total sales jumped 19.7% to 38.85 trillion pesos, it said, helped by bigger sales volumes and a positive exchange rate.
Production in the first quarter rose to 719,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), up 3.9% from 692,100 boed in the first quarter of 2022, Ecopetrol said.
At the same time, refining operations hit a new quarterly record, with Ecopetrol refining an average of 412,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) in the first three months of the year, up from around 325,000 bpd in the year-earlier period.
Transport of refined products and crude rose 4.7% in the quarter to just over 1 million barrels per day, the company added.
In April, the company appointed Roa as its new chief executive, following the exit of former chief executive Felipe Bayon who stepped down at the end of March.
($1 = 4,490.58 Colombian pesos) (Reporting by Valentine Hilaire and Aida Pelaez Fernandez in Mexico City and Oliver Griffin in Bogota; Editing by Sarah Morland and Stephen Coates)