Colombia's Hocol says signed four oil contracts for $100 million investment

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Hocol, a unit of Colombian state-owned oil company Ecopetrol, signed four contracts on Thursday for oil exploration that will require a total investment of some $100 million, the company said.

Holol and Chile-based GeoPark will jointly develop the Llanos 86, Llanos 87 and Llanos 104 oilfields in three of the contracts, investing between $80-$100 million over the next three years to drill six exploratory wells, Holol said in a statement. The two companies own equal stakes in the contracts.

The COR 9 block in southeastern Colombia, which Holol will operate on its own, requires a $16 million investment, it added.

Holol won the contracts during an auction last month, part of a series of bidding rounds by the state hydrocarbon agency aimed at revitalizing Colombia’s long-stagnant oil sector and generating $1.5 billion in investments in coming months.

The country’s crude reserves were up 9.9% last year to 1.96 billion barrels, or equivalent to 6.2 years of output. The government wants to increase reserves to at least 10 years equivalent.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Sandra Maler