Colombia received investment bids of more than $700 million for 80 oil exploration blocks in different parts of the country, at an auction taking place in Cartagena, according to preliminary results from the Caribbean city, reports El Espectador.
A total of 230 exploration blocks are being auctioned, largely in the Pacific region and along Colombia’s maritime border with Nicaragua, with others in the Amazon region in the south of the country.
Colombia, which is Latin America’s fourth largest producer of oil, wants to double its known oil reserves and build on the already booming industry in the Andean nation.
The director of Colombia’s National Hydrocarbon Agency (ANH), Armando Zamora, said on Monday that they expected between $250 and $500 to be made in the auction.
Zamora said that the auctioning off the exploration blocks would ensure that production levels would be maintained through 2015 and beyond.
Winners of the auction bids in Cartagena will be announced in the coming days.
Colombian crude oil output in May rose 19% to an average of 776,000 barrels a day from 653,000 barrels a day during the same period in 2009, according to ANH.