OVL consortium bags Colombia oil block

ONGC Videsh has bagged an oil block in Colombia. OVL, as part of a 50:50 consortium, has been awarded the block through an auction.

MUMBAI: ONGC Videsh (OVL), the overseas arm of public sector oil explorer ONGC, has bagged an oil block in Colombia. OVL, as part of a 50:50 consortium, has been awarded the block through an auction.

An ONGC official confirmed the development. ���We will sign the contract in coming weeks,��� he said. The other member of the consortium is a local oil and gas firm, Pacific Stratus.

It is learnt that the consortium will invest $23 million in the first phase of exploration. The 550-km long block has a total area of 270,702 hectare and is adjacent to the La Creciente natural gas field, which is located in northwestern Colombia. The consortium will explore the block, which will remain the property of the Colombian government.

A source said the Latin American country managed to find takers for 22 blocks after it put 43 blocks on auction. In all, 39 companies participated in the auction for blocks in five geological basins, namely Llanos Orientales (17), Sinu San Jacinto (10), Cesar Rancheria (6), Cordillera Oriental (6) and Guajira (4). Reliance Industries (RIL) is learnt to have failed to qualify for the bid. When contacted, an RIL spokesperson declined to comment.

Colombia is Latin America's fifth-largest oil exporter. The country may become a net importer in 2016 if domestic consumption grows at the current rate and there is no significant new discovery, according to government estimates. To avoid this, Colombia has lured companies to invest in exploration. Its oil companies produced 612,000 barrels a day in the first nine months of this year.
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