2019 began with good news for the hydrocarbons sector with the reactivation of offshore exploration and three conventional oil finds in the Eastern Plains. After almost five years without awarding blocks for the exploration and production (E&P) of oil and gas in the Caribbean, the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) signed three contracts with Ecopetrol and Shell. In the coming weeks, the ANH will sign four additional contracts with Anadarko, Repsol, and with a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Ecopetrol.
Despite the reactivation of offshore exploration and recent findings the country continues in a precarious reserve situation since, according to regulators, there are only 5.7 years of crude reserves and 11 years of gas reserves in existence, which do not guarantee long-term energy sustainability. While the government's strategies seek an increase in oil and gas reserves in the medium and long term, one of the early victories for the ANH are the nine offshore contracts, which are in the process of switching from TEA (technical evaluation) contracts to E&P contracts. The discoveries of oil fields in Meta and Arauca, as well as the discovery of natural gas in the Nelson-13 well in the Lower Magdalena Valley basin, would indicate that the industry is rebounding, but not enough to secure the country’s supply.
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