Colombia alters oil auction schedule

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, June 18, 2020
Colombia alters oil auction schedule

Colombian hydrocarbons regulator ANH has extended a timetable for the selection of areas in the third cycle of its permanent offer of oil and gas drilling rights. 

Potential bidders now have until June 30 to submit formal interest in the available acreage, having previously been set a June 17 deadline, according to documents published on the agency's website.

ANH said it would release a map of areas in which companies had shown interest on July 15 before confirming blocks to be included in the auction on August 18. 

New terms of reference also clarify rules related to additional exploration activity proposed in counteroffers.

Initial bids are scheduled to be received on October 30 and companies will then have until November 17 to lodge counteroffers. Initial bidders can exercise an option to raise their proposals on November 30.

Contracts will be awarded for areas with no counteroffers  on November 27 and those with counteroffers on December 14. 

According to ANH, companies have submitted interest in 39 blocks: five of which are offshore: within the Guajira and Sinú basins in the Caribbean sea. 

The remainder are shared among the Caguán-Putumayo, Catatumbo, Cordillera Oriental, Llanos Orientales, Sinú -San Jacinto, Lower Magdalena and Middle Magdalena basins. They comprise 26 emerging and 13 mature areas. 

The largest onshore area to receive interest is the Cag-7 emerging block, which covers 215,559ha. The Sin-Off 11 license is the biggest offshore area with 153,017ha. 

More information, in Spanish, can be seen here.

Colombia's plans to push ahead with the permanent offer's third cycle come despite a sharp oil price downturn that has prompted operators to slash their capital spending and cast doubt over the profitability of new projects. 

Some 26 areas out of an available 70 were auctioned in the first two cycles of the permanent offer in 2019. In addition, ANH assigned five offshore E&P contracts to holders of technical evaluation contracts. Total investment in the 31 blocks is estimated at US$2.23bn.

Last year's auctions ended a five-year oil licensing round hiatus in the Andean country, which relies on crude oil for more than 50% of its export revenue.

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