Petrobank, ANH Negotiating Four Exploration Contracts

Canadian oil company Petrobank (TSE: PBG) is finalizing four exploration contracts and one technical evaluation agreement (TEA) with Colombia's hydrocarbons regulator ANH, Petrobank CEO John Wright told BNamericas.

Three of the exploration contracts would be for areas in the Llanos basin and the fourth would be in the Putumayo region. The TEA would be for an area adjacent to one of the exploration contracts in the Llanos basin, he said.

Petrobank had announced in February this year it was in conversations with ANH for two exploration blocks and one TEA, but plans have grown to include negotiations on a further two blocks, Wright said.

Petrobank had hoped to sign contracts for the first two exploration blocks and TEA by end-March this year, but that target was not possible, Wright said, without giving a reason for the delay.

The first phase of the exploration contracts would be for a period of 12-24 months and Petrobank would have to commit to either shooting seismic data or drilling one well, Wright said. The TEA would last for 12-18 months and is for a much larger area.

Petrobank expects three of the four exploration contracts and TEA to get final ANH approval by the end of May or early June, but the Putumayo contract could take a bit longer because of a "thorny" issue that must be dealt with, Wright said, without going into detail.


Petrobank has 79% and 69% respective working interests in incremental production on the Orito and Neiva blocks, which are in the Putumayo region and the Upper Magdalena basin about 300km northeast of Orito. The initial phases of the Orito and Neiva contracts ended in June 2004 and the complementary phase runs until June 2023, Wright said. Total production on the Orito and Neiva blocks is some 4,000 barrels a day (b/d) and 3,000b/d respectively. Petrobank's net production on Orito and Neiva is some 900b/d and 300b/d respectively.

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