Ecopetrol entered into a farm-in agreement with Norwegian StatoilHydro to drill three exploratory wells in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, during the next two years. The long-term agreement includes the drilling of three prospects in 2009 and 2010, and the option for Ecopetrol to participate in additional future potential drilling prospects.
The agreement provides that Ecopetrol will have interests ranging from 20% to 30% in the prospects. Preliminary evaluations indicate that the initial investment of Ecopetrol could exceed US $160 million.
In addition, Ecopetrol and StatoilHydro have agreed to undertake a process for maturing several prospects during the next seven years.
The agreement enables Ecopetrol to consolidate its internationalization process, particularly in the GOM (United States), where it is already present in exploration blocks with its joint venture partners Shell, ENI and BP, and in the production of the K2 field, with Anadarko as the operator.
Besides increasing its presence in one of the most important oil and gas production regions in the world, this alliance enables Ecopetrol to diversify its exploratory risk and to acquire knowledge and technology for development of future deep water projects.
Ecopetrol is Colombia's largest company and it is integrated in the petroleum chain, among the top 40 oil companies in the world and the four major oil companies in Latin America. Besides Colombia, where over 60% of domestic production is concentrated, it is involved in exploration and production activities in Brazil, Peru and the United States (Gulf of Mexico). Ecopetrol owns the main refinery in Colombia, most of the network of oil and multiple purpose pipelines in the country and it is considerably increasing its share in biofuels.
StatoilHydro currently has holdings in 415 blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, where it operates 195 of them. It is a leading company in the use of deep water technologies. Furthermore, StatoilHydro is present in 40 countries, with an average production of 1.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (mmboed).
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