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Colombia: Exploration and Production Contracts in Colombia: 2003 - 2013

Mariana Sánchez Mojica, International Mining and Oil & Gas Law, Development, and Investment (2013)

There have been substantial changes in the petroleum industry in Colombia over the last ten (10) years. The 2003 policy which allowed “smaller investors” to enter into the upstream business in Colombia has not only generated a considerable amount of activity in the country and in the production of hydrocarbons but has also led the NATIONAL HYDROCARBONS AGENCY (Agenda Nacional de Hidrocarburos - “ANH”) to take certain measures based on (i) the different experiences it has had with small- and medium-sized operators, in certain cases inexperienced, and (ii) the considerable success it has had with the measures taken since 2003.

The results of the 2012 Round (Ronda) have been the least promising when compared to previous bidding rounds that were much more accessible and attractive to smaller and mid-size players interested in investing in Colombia. Even though 115 blocks were opened to bidding in the 2012 Round, only 49 received offers from a combination of 37 national and international oil and gas companies. 72 offers were made for so-called Type 1 areas, 18 for Type 2 areas and 15 for Type 3 Areas. 3 companies showed interest in 5 areas offered for ‘unconventional’ hydrocarbons, while 6 offshore areas caught the attention of 7 major players.

The above results are due to several factors, among them the increase in the minimum participation requirements which rais