Colombia's Ecopetrol to divest nine oil and gas assets in auction

BOGOTA, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Colombia’s majority state-owned energy company Ecopetrol will divest its stakes in nine oil and gas producing assets in the Andean country via an electronic auction scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, it said on Wednesday.

The planned divestment is in line with Ecopetrol’s strategy of strict capital discipline, protection of cash, cost efficiency, and profitable growth, the company said.

“This auction will allow other companies in the sector to access assets with potential to develop production and reserves,” Ecopetrol CEO Felipe Bayon said in a statement.

Investments from such companies will generate employment and will contribute to reactivation of the energy industry and Colombia’s regional economies, Bayon added.

The portfolio includes three assets in Colombia’s Casanare province, two in Tolima province, two in Santander province, and one each in the provinces of Cesar and Huila, Ecopetrol said.

The nine assets have a combined production of 3,000 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) a day, Ecopetrol said, with an estimated 17 million BOE in proved, probable and possible - also known as 3P - reserves, of which 11 million barrels are proved.

As well as 3P reserves, the assets offer the potential to develop 13 million BOE of contingent reserves, as well as exploration options for some 35 million BOE in prospective resources.

A number of the assets are fully-owned or majority-owned by Ecopetrol’s subsidiary Holcol.

National and international companies that meet the accreditation requirements of Colombia’s National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) will be eligible to bid in the auction, Ecopetrol said.

In August the Colombian Petroleum Association (ACP) said private oil and gas companies in the Andean country were ready to invest some $715 million during the rest of 2020 to help kick-start the energy sector.

Reporting by Oliver Griffin; editing by Timothy Gardner

Nuestros Estándares: Los principios Thomson Reuters.