Colombia expects to find new oil within next two years

Jun 01, 2001 02:00 AM

Colombia expects to find new oil within the next two years as seven new drilling projects get underway in the relatively unexplored country, the president of state-owned oil giant Ecopetrol said. "By the end of 2002 we expect -- with a little luck -- to have found something in at least a couple of the seven," said Alberto Calderon, president of Empresa Colombiana de Petroleos.
Calderon said the projects are high-risk, high impact, meaning the potential hydrocarbon reserves, if found, could surpass 1 bn barrels. He said the risk of finding nothing in these seven projects is about 20 %, while the chances of finding something is about 80 %." "If you don't look, you don't find," Calderon said.
Exploration investments in Colombia, Latin America's third largest crude oil exporter, dried up during the '90s due to high taxes and unattractive contract conditions. But terms were sweetened in 1999, which has helped draw investors. Calderon said that while security in the form of "public order" is a major concern of multinationals in Colombia, this risk has been offset by the "legal security" that Colombian laws offer.

Colombia's No. 2 crude oil pipeline, the Cano Limon, has been paralysed since February due to repeated dynamite attacks on the line, allegedly by guerrilla groups that oppose foreign presence in the country's oil sector. Despite the violence, Ecopetrol signed a record 32 association contracts in 2000 and hopes to sign a further 30 this year.
Oil exports accounted for 35 % of 2000 revenues, making it Colombia's leading legal export. But reserves are running down fast and the country is set to become a new importer of oil as early as 2004. The seven projects, which Calderon said will get underway during the second half of 2000, are being operated by several companies, including BP, Repsol-YPF, Occidental Petroleum, French firm TotalFinaElf, Canadian Firm Talisman, and Hocol, a unit of Nimir Petroleum of Saudi Arabia.

Source: Dow Jones via Energy24
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