The Colombian government awarded 78 exploration blocks to 40 companies to search for and exploit hydrocarbon resources in the country.
The decision follows a process of adjudication by the National Hydrocarbon Agency (ANH) overseen by the Inspector General’s office, reports CM&.
The ANH board is chaired by the minister of mines and energy, Carlos Rodado, who said that Colombia will gain $1 billion in investment over the next three years as a result of the deals.
ANH Director Armando Zamora said that the 40 companies are among the 100 largest in the world, without naming any of them.
The hydrocarbon agency launched the process in December 2009 when it offered 229 blocks for exploration in 20 sedimentary basins.
Exploration blocks in Colombia’s Pacific and Amazon regions, as well as along the maritime border with Nicaragua, were auctioned off in June.
Following a successful period of review, the ANH awarded blocks to 40 companies.
“The process was carried out transparently, respecting the constitutional aspects and terms of reference, taking all the requirements of the agency and reviewing the comments of the participants,” said Robado.
State-run oil company Ecopetrol said that Colombia’s oil reserve potential was 47 million barrels, which would guarantee oil self-sufficiency for ten years.
Last week Ecopetrol announced that it had discovered oil in the central Colombian department of Meta, indicating that the area could have strong potential for oil production.
Colombia’s government in September authorized Ecopetrol to issue bonds of up to COP1 trillion ($543 million) in the local market to funds its 2010 investment plan.Ecopetrol is Colombia’s largest company and is ranked among the top four in Latin America with production activities in Brazil, Peru, and the Gulf of Mexico.