Colombia awards nine offshore blocks

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 21 -- Colombia's National Hydrocarbons Agency has awarded 9 of 13 offshore blocks in the Caribbean Sea that had been released for tendering.

State-owned Ecopetrol SA will participate in joint ventures with foreign partners in six of the concessions and has two others alone. BP PLC won the sole right to develop Block 5.

Altogether, Ecopetrol won Blocks 11 and 12 outright, and will partner with Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras), India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), Hess Corp., and BP in six other blocks.

The companies have agreed to commit $5.3-5.8 million in exploration funding in return for 10-year oil and gas exploration rights, along with production rights for the lifetime of their fields.

The blocks awarded, the successful bidders, and the amounts of exploration investment committed, in millions of dollars, are as follows: 4, Petrobras, Ecopetrol, and BP, 5.5; 5, BP, 5.8; 6, Petrobras, Ecopetrol, and Hess, 5.3; 7, Petrobras, Ecopetrol, and Hess, 5.3; 8, Petrobras, Ecopetrol, and ONGC, 5.3; 9, Ecopetrol, 5.3; 10, Ecopetrol and ONGC, 5.3; 11, Ecopetrol, 5.3; and 12, Ecopetrol, 5.3.

Blocks 1, 2, 3, and 13, received no bids.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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