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Colombia's private oil sector drop out
in first shale tender

@Nexen

Oil groups back out from Colombia shale licences

By Patricia Garip /Argus

BOGOTA
Petroleumworld 11 10 2020

Colombia's closely watched tender for unconventional exploration pilot projects drew a sole proposal from state-controlled Ecopetrol, with private-sector contenders bowing out.

The two other pre-qualified bidders, ExxonMobil and Colombian coal mining company Drummond, did not present proposals by the 6 November deadline, the national energy regulator ANH said. But the agency asserted that it was already preparing a second round that would follow the issuance of delayed regulations, particularly in the environmental space.

Ecopetrol confirmed that it presented a proposal for a pilot project, but declined to provide further details. The company has said it is focused on extensive shale potential in the Middle Magdalena Valley basin in central Colombia.

The outcome was a disappointment for Colombia's business-oriented government, which is counting on the pilot projects to lay the groundwork for a shale-driven revival of its flagging hydrocarbons reserves base. But for the private sector, the result was not unexpected .

ExxonMobil had told Argus last week that its decision to participate in the pilot projects "is subject to the final issuance of a complete set of regulations" and "the implementation of a series of necessary conditions for the development of the projects."

Drummond has not commented. The company is hoping to resume coal-bed methane drilling on its existing coal acreage in the northern department of Cesar.

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