(OP) International oil and gas majors, including UK-based Shell and Brazil’s Petrobras, have shown interest in expanding their participation in natural gas projects offshore Colombia, Ricardo Roa, the head of Colombia’s state energy firm Ecopetrol, has told Bloomberg in an interview.
Colombia’s Caribbean coast has several promising offshore gas projects and recent deepwater discoveries have raised the hopes that the South American country could become a natural gas exporter.
Colombia’s first leftist president Gustavo Petro wants to move away from fossil fuels and has stopped awarding new exploration licenses for oil and gas. But Colombia has 11 existing licenses in which some international majors partner with Ecopetrol.
One such venture, a Shell- Ecopetrol collaboration, found gas last year in the Gorgon-2 well in Colombia’s Caribbean deep waters. Ecopetrol and operator Shell are partners in the Col-5, Fuerte Sur, and Purple Angel blocks in the Caribe Sur area with a 50% interest each.
Also last year, Ecopetrol and Brazil’s state major Petrobras announced a deepwater gas discovery in the Tayrona Block.
“This gas discovery is aligned with Ecopetrol’s 2040 energy transition strategy and increases the prospects for developing a new exploration and production frontier in the northern Colombian Caribbean,” the Colombian company said at the time.
Petrobras, which has a 44% interest in the block, has ditched earlier plans to sell its stake in the block, company executives said in May.
Now both Shell and Petrobras, as well as other oil and gas majors, have said they are interested in expanding their participation offshore Colombia, Ecopetrol’s Roa says.
“We’ve let it be known, to the different market participants, our willingness to allow the entrance of new players, or existing players, in these exploration areas,” Roa told Bloomberg.
“We’ve been incorporating and receiving a lot of interest in participating.”
Ecopetrol has been on the search for international firms to help cover the investments necessary to develop the deepwater gas projects, Roa said.