You have to adapt and look to the future

Colombia Energía had the opportunity to talk with the Vice President of Exploration of Ecopetrol, Max Torres, who gave us his perspective on the future of the oil industry, the bets of the main Colombian company in the offshore segment and the immediate challenges for the companies of Oil & Gas

In the middle of a complex panorama Max Torres, Vice President of Exploration of Ecopetrol, analyzes the situation that the oil sector is going through and refers to the exploratory work of the largest company in the country, which invites other industry players to follow Go ahead, adjusting to the new market circumstances.

Tell us about the projects that Ecopetrol advances in the offshore segment

Ecopetrol plans, along with its partners Anadarko and Petrobras, to drill the Purple Angel-1 wells, at the end of 2016, and Orca-2, at the beginning of 2017. We also continue to mature high-potential projects to continue drilling in 2017 and 2018, and thus continue with an active exploratory campaign.

How does Ecopetrol prepare to move forward with offshore exploration and production in a low price environment?

Ecopetrol adapted to low prices looking for a balanced exploration portfolio with emphasis on the evaluation of legacy assets, that is, mature fields, looking for new areas and reserves in bypass zones.

Offshore exploration continues in the Colombian Caribbean and in the Gulf of Mexico, where the drilling of the León-2 well was recently completed with the Repsol partner.

What do you think are the main technical challenges for the implementation of projects in the Colombian Caribbean?

In reality, the main technical challenge will be the incorporation of sufficient reserves to make an economic project. The technology for this type of drilling is well known, both in exploration and in development.

Are national service providers prepared for what will be the future development in offshore blocks?

National suppliers are in a learning curve of a new industry for the country. This process of acquiring new knowledge will be a profitable job for operators and service providers.

What is the projection of the oil company in the international arena?

Ecopetrol has drilled with its partner Repsol the Well Leon-2 and prepares to drill, with its partner Anadarko, the Well Warrior in the vicinity of the K-2 field. The company continues with the seismic operation in several offshore blocks in Brazil. And, in addition to the work being carried out in the neighboring country, opportunities are also sought in Mexico and Ecuador.

The difficult context due to low oil prices has affected oil exploration. How does Ecopetrol find a balance between austerity and an active exploratory activity for the future?

Ecopetrol has a reservation base that allows you to look to the future. The exploratory activity turned to the onshore fields and lower risk prospects to leverage the production curve. Budget cuts, which are widespread in the industry, and have limited current activity, seek austerity and prepare us for a future of better prices.

What is the focus of the exploration activity of the main oil company in the country?

The focus of the exploratory activity is the reevaluation of mature fields or legacy assets, using new technologies, and an acute vision in search of short-term reserves. We also advance the drilling of wells in Piedemonte, such as Payero-1 with Hocol, and in Block CPO-09 with the Repsol partner. The focus on offshore is also very important to build a portfolio that allows the fields to be developed economically and to give sustainability to the company.

What lessons can be obtained from the current difficult situation?

The best learning is to adapt to low prices while looking to the future and having a balanced vision. Under this perspective, high potential and long term wells participate, such as those located in the Gulf of Mexico and in the offshore sector of Colombia, as well as nearfield projects or mature fields, where we are looking for short-term reserves, maximizing the use of invested capital.

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