Colombia awards final auction oil block to Geopark-Hocol consortium

BOGOTA, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Colombia awarded the final block in its latest oil auction to a consortium formed by Geopark Ltd. and Hocol SA, a subsidiary of state-owned Ecopetrol , Geopark said on Tuesday.

The LLA 124 block initially received two bids in the first round of the auction, from the consortium and Canada’s Parex . The auction is the Andean country’s second this year.

Parex submitted a new bid for the block during a counter-offer period earlier this month, but the consortium matched the new bid and won the contract.

Colombia has inked 31 contracts this year in a push to boost its oil and gas sector. The head of the country’s national hydrocarbons agency said earlier this month the contracts will bring radical change to Colombia’s hydrocarbon industry.

Last year Colombia’s crude reserves rose 9.9% to 1.96 billion barrels, equivalent to 6.2 years of output. The government wants to increase reserves to at least 10 years’ equivalent.

Average oil production is about 860,000 barrels per day, of which half is exported. (Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Dan Grebler)