Colombia opens 'mini round' auction

The Colombian government, building on earlier talk of a "mini-round" auction, announced an auction of exploration rights to more than 100 blocks, according to a senior official of the country's hydrocarbons regulator, Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos (ANH).

Jun 24th, 2008

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The Colombian government, building on earlier talk of a "mini-round" auction, announced an auction of exploration rights to more than 100 blocks, according to a senior official of the country's hydrocarbons regulator, Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos (ANH).

ANH director Armando Zamora said the government will auction 100 small areas, some of which had been returned to the government, and interested companies will have until the end of August to apply to be authorized to bid during the auction.

Zamora earlier said Colombia is keen to attract small and medium-sized operators for the mini round. "We will offer those [blocks] that have been surrendered to the ANH in productive areas," He said. "The round will close in September" (OGJ, Apr. 7, 2008, Newsletter).

The mini-round—also referred to as the Second Ordinary Round 2008—will see the offer of mostly heavy oil blocks located in the Upper Magdalena basin, the Middle Magdalena basin, the Llanos basin, and the Putumayo basin.

A second round for several larger heavy oil projects in the East Lanos basin is by invitation only, while the third round—the Colombian Round—launched in February includes 43 blocks in four basins: Sinu-San Jacinto, Cesar-Ranchería/ Guajira, Eastern Cordillera, and the Llanos basin.

In April Zamora said state-owned Ecopetrol aims to increase oil production to 700,000 b/d by 2015 and then to 1 million b/d by 2020 (OGJ, Apr. 7, 2008, p.38). Colombia is hoping that its licensing terms—considered attractive by some analysts—will offer enough incentive for international oil companies to invest in its energy sector and help boost production to the desired levels.


More in Exploration & Development