Dec 9 (Reuters) - Colombia says foreign investment in its oil sector will surpass $3.5 billion next year as the Andean country enjoys a “miniboom” that has made it Latin America’s No. 4 oil producer. with output of 700,000 barrels per day.
Colombia’s 2009 oil production is forecast at 700,000 barrels per day, up from 588,000 bpd last year, according to government figures.
Foreign investment in Colombia's oil industry in 2009 was $3.4 billion, led by Canadian companies, such as Pacific Rubiales PRE.TO, which is now producing 100,000 bpd, according to National Hydrocarbons Agency.
Investment has increased in Colombia as security has improved since President Alvaro Uribe came to office in 2002 and sent troops to retake areas once controlled by armed groups caught up in the country’s long guerrilla war. Kidnappings, bombings and attacks have ebbed dramatically.
The following are some of the key investments and recent announcements in Colombia’s oil sector:
- Occidental Petroleum OXY.N operates two fields with state oil firm Ecopetrol. Last year it said it expected its total production to rise to 135,000 bpd by 2011 with La Cira Infantas field output climbing from 15,000 bpd to 50,000 bpd but said its Cano Limon field may struggle to remain steady at around 95,000 bpd.
- Ecopetrol ECO.CN, Brazil's Petrobras PETR4.SAPBR.N and Exxon Mobil XOM.N have said they expect to start drilling in 2010 in offshore blocks in the Caribbean as part of the $400 million in investments companies are expected to pump in projects in the area.
- Canada's Pacific Rubiales PRE.TO has announced investment of $853 million in 2010, including development in its Rubiales and Quifa projects in Colombia's eastern plains. The company is now one of Colombia's major oil producers with output at 100,000 bpd.
- APCO Oil & Gas International APAGF.O agreed to buy 50 percent interest in Colombia's Turpial Block for $4.8 million. APCO will also buy 20 percent of Llanos 32 Exploration and Production Contract from TC Oil and Services.
- Canada's Petrominerales Ltd PMG.TO, a unit of Petrobank Energy and Resources, in September said one of its sites in Colombia was now producing 6,000 bpd and its A-2 site at the Corcel Block was now producing more than 10,000 bpd.
- A unit of Indian energy firm Reliance Industries RELI.BO signed a deal with Ecopetrol ECO.CNEC.N for two offshore blocks in Colombia. Ecopetrol will take 20 percent stake in the Borojo North Block 42 and the Borojo South Block 43 with the Indian unit holding the rest.
- Canadian firms Brownstone Ventures and Quetzal Energy Brownstone Ventures have entered into an agreement with Montecz SA and NCT EG Energy Group C.A to participate in the Block LLA 27 in Colombia’s eastern plains.
- U.S. firm La Cortez Energy LCTZ.BO has signed a letter of intent to buy Avante Colombia, which has a 50 percent share in Rio de Oro and Puerto Barco exploration projects operated with Ecopetrol in the Catatumbo region.
- California-based Petro Vista Energy PTV.V and New Horizon Energy recently announced they had begun drilling at La Maye block, the first of two exploration wells they plan to drill this year. New Horizon operates the block with Petro Vista owning 25 percent interest.
- Canada's Alange Energy Corp ALE.V in November announced a $20 million purchase of 19.27 percent more interest in Colombia's Cubiro production block, which has estimated reserves of 400 million barrels of crude.
Reporting by Javier Mozzo; writing by Patrick Markey in Bogota; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
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