Occidental enters four oil blocks in southern Colombia: ANH

FILE PHOTO: The Occidental Petroleum Corp headquarters is pictured in Los Angeles, California September 16, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

BOGOTA (Reuters) - U.S.-based oil company Occidental Petroleum Corp has partnered with Amerisur Resources Plc on four exploration and production blocks in southern Colombia, near the border with Ecuador, the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) said on Tuesday.

The Tacacho, Terecay, PUT-9 and Mecaya blocks are in the jungle region of Putumayo, one of the provinces with the greatest potential for oil discovery. Amerisur, which will continue as operator of the blocks, ceded 50% of its participation in the blocks to Occidental, the ANH said. “These are four very important blocks in Putumayo, a very prospective area of the country that’s developing in leaps and bounds,” ANH President Luis Miguel Morelli said in a statement. The extension of the four blocks exceeds 554,000 hectares, the statement said. Colombia has proven reserves of almost 2 billion barrels, equivalent to 6.2 years of consumption, with a current average production of 865,000 barrels per day. The South American country is seeking to increase reserves to at least 10 years of consumption by offering areas for exploration, allowing companies to apply to explore in blocks of interest and making contracts more flexible.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Richard Chang