Anadarko, Ecopetrol to start joint Colombia exploration this year

Anadarko Petroleum’s Colombia unit will begin acquiring 2D and 3D seismic data at deepwater offshore blocks it operates in Colombia with an eye to begin a drilling program with partner Ecopetrol in 2014.

Anadarko has six offshore blocks totaling 8 million gross acres.

Colombia’s state-led Ecopetrol, which produces 80% of the country’s oil, announced in December that exploration with partner Anadarko would focus on the Caribbean Fuerte Norte and Fuerte Sur blocks.

Anadarko has a 70% success rate in offshore drilling, according to company literature. It expects to drill 25 exploration and appraisal wells worldwide in 2013.

“We have had tremendous success in basin floor fan systems similar to those found in Colombia, which has tremendous potential, given the oil prone source rock present in the basin,” the spokesman said in an email Friday. He declined to say how much of Anadarko’s $1 billion deep water exploration this year is allocated to Colombia.

The Anadarko-Ecopetrol venture is the third offshore program to launch in Colombia’s Caribbean territory in recent months.

The first, a $120 million partnership of Equion, Ecopetrol and Petrobras began last May and announced that it had found natural gas in November at the Mapele-1 well off the coast near Cartagena. The partners have said they will make the decision on whether the well is commercially viable sometime in 2013.

Last month, Shell said it will begin this year an offshore campaign costing as much as $200 million to explore for gas in the Caribbean.

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