Colombia Grants E&P Rights To 5 Oil Companies

Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The Colombian government Tuesday granted exploration and production rights on nine offshore areas on the Caribbean coast to five different companies in an effort to boost the country's oil reserves.

In Tuesday's auction, Colombian state-owned oil company Ecopetrol SA, India's state-run oil company Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (500312.BY), Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR), U.K.-based BP PlC (BP) and Hess Corp. (HES) won the rights separately or in partnership to explore the nine blocks. Four blocks didn't attract bidders.

The Colombian government is trying to attract oil companies to the country to boost oil reserves and output in a bid to remain oil self-sufficient. If current consumption and production trends continue, the country will become a net oil importer in 2014.

The Colombian Caribbean area may be rich in oil and natural gas, but no thorough studies have been carried out.

The winners will have a 10-year right to explore in the area and rights to produce oil until the fields are depleted. Three years after winning the rights, the companies will have to hand back 50% of the area to the government, a standard procedure in such auctions. Source: Dow Jones

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