The great gas province of the Colombian Caribbean

The hydrocarbon reserves in Colombia are currently translated into stocks of 9.8 years for gas and 6.2 years in crude. The development of E&P Costa Afuera activities in the Caribbean is one of the big bets to ensure energy self-sufficiency in the medium and long term.

The gradual revival of the industry, thanks to the Permanent Process of Allocation of Areas (PPAA) promoted by the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH), generates confidence for exploration and extraction, and in that sense encourages investment in offshore projects in the Caribe Region, a strategic place for the development of mainly gas fields in the areas primarily explored in this region.

According to the ANH, since the beginning of 2019 the country has signed six offshore contracts, which represent investment commitments for USD $ 1,830 million, in the blocks Gua Off 10 – USD $ 90 million, Tayrona – USD $ 140 million, Col 4 – USD $ 350 million, Gua Off 1 – USD $ 350 million, Col 3 and Gua Off 3 USD $ 650 million, Col 5 – USD $ 250 million. In addition, there are five new offshore areas, which will be offered in the second PPAA auction.

Colombia has 63,000 MBPE, a high potential for prospective resources in the Caribbean subsoil. However, this is a practically unexplored basin, with no more than 70 wells, including those of the Chuchupa-Ballenas field, although the development of these fields is not new, since since 1973 we have extracted gas from these deposits in the Department of La Guajira.

Looking to the future, recent discoveries in the Colombian Caribbean, through exploratory wells such as those drilled by Petrobras, Ecopetrol and Anadarko in recent years, place this region as vital for the development of new hydrocarbon projects, and It opens a broad spectrum in the opportunity to generate employment, preparation of technical personnel, and the establishment of oil and gas logistics service centers.

Conditions that favor operating costs and transactions between different operators and suppliers are key in this process. Free zones are an important point, because they are a tool that will facilitate operations and encourage foreign investment. With 108 free zones in operation, Colombia concentrates 25% of the 400 in Latin America and is located as the country with the largest number of industrial parks in the continent, according to data from the National Association of Entrepreneurs of 2017, and the region Caribbean with Barranquilla at the helm, has been positioning itself as a logistics leader for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation projects in the future.

The time to align and coordinate efforts to develop the offshore business in Colombia is now, the location is the Caribbean region, and the meeting point is Barranquilla, one of the cities that is preparing to lead this endeavor. The Government, with the leadership of the ANH, is sowing in the offshore fields the seed of what could become “the great gas province of the Colombian Caribbean”.

Carlos Alberto Leal Child

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Acipet

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