In the fourth quarter of 2008, Ecopetrol participated in the drilling of 185 development wells, of which 35 were drilled by Ecopetrol alone and the other 150 jointly with joint venture partners. During the fourth quarter of 2007, 131 wells were drilled, of which 41 were drilled by Ecopetrol alone and the other 90 jointly with joint venture partners.
For the whole year 2008, Ecopetrol participated in the drilling of 618 development wells, of which 146 were drilled by Ecopetrol alone and the other 472 jointly with joint venture partners. During 2007, 403 wells were drilled, of which 120 were drilled by Ecopetrol alone and the other 283 jointly with joint venture partners.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, gross crude oil and natural gas production increased to 455.7 MBOED from 412.7 MBOED in the fourth quarter of 2007. The major production increases were in heavy crude oil produced primarily in the Castilla-San Fernando and Rubiales fields in Colombia.
In 2008, gross crude oil and natural gas production on a barrel-of-oil equivalent basis increased to 447 MBOED from 399 MBOED in 2007. 85.4 MBOED corresponded to natural gas and 361.6 MBOD to crude oil production.
Lifting costs for the full year 2008 were US$8.32 per barrel, compared to US$7.24 per barrel in 2007. The increase was principally due to higher costs for oil services and the adjustment to employee compensation undertaken by Ecopetrol during 2008.
During the fourth quarter seismic activity reached 4,017.3 kilometers by Ecopetrol alone and 637 for joint operating agreements, for a total of 4,654.3 kilometers equivalents.
For whole year 2008 seismic activity reached 6.738,3 kilometers equivalents, 5,633.3 by Ecopetrol alone and 1,105 for operating agreements, compared to 3,081 kilometers equivalents in 2007, due to an increase in offshore seismic acquisition.
In 2008, Ecopetrol participated in the drilling of 35 exploratory wells, of which 15 were drilled by Ecopetrol alone and the other 20 jointly with joint venture partners. Exploration commercial success rate increased to 33% from 17% year-over-year.
Gross Oil and Gas Reserves as of December 31, 2008, calculated under SPE and WPC standards were 1,473 MMBOE, representing a Reserves Replacement Rate of 110.2%. Under SEC rules, reserves were 1,384.1 MMBOE, representing a Reserves Replacement Rate of 37.3%
Below is a summary of recent exploration and production highlights during the fourth quarter of 2008:
October 22, 2008 -- Ecopetrol announced a new partnership agreement with British Petroleum for hydrocarbon exploration in the Gulf of Mexico’s Outer Continental Shelf.
November 7, 2008 -- Ecopetrol submitted the most competitive bids for four exploration blocks included in the 2008 Colombia Round held by the Colombian National Hydrocarbon Agency (ANH). The four blocks cover 762,000 hectares in Llanos and Sinu Basin.
November 20, 2008 -- Ecopetrol signed a participation agreement with ENI, the Italian oil company, to drill at least 5 deep sea prospects in the Gulf of Mexico between 2008 and 2010. The five prospects will be selected from a portfolio of prospects to be presented by ENI and evaluated by both companies.
November 28, 2008 -- Ecopetrol announced that it found evidence of hydrocarbons in the Quifa-5 well, which is located in the Quifa Block in the Eastern Plains of the Meta Province in Colombia. Ecopetrol has a 30% interest in the Quifa Association Contract.
December 4, 2008 -- Ecopetrol submitted the most competitive bids for four exploration blocks included in the 2008 Mini Round held by the Colombian National Hydrocarbon Agency (ANH). The awarded blocks are Llanos 4, Llanos 9, Llanos14 and VMM6, covering approximately 270,000 hectares and located in the Llanos Orientales Plains region and Valle Del Magdalena Medio of Colombia.
December 4, 2008 -- Ecopetrol approves the development plan in Rubiales field to increase production up to 100,000 bod. Rubiales field is operated by Metapetroleum.
December 23, 2008 -- Ecopetrol entered into a farm-in agreement with Norwegian StatoilHydro to drill 3 exploratory wells in deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico during the next two years. Ecopetrol will have interests ranging from 20% to 30%, and the long-term agreement includes the option for Ecopetrol to participate in additional future drilling prospects.
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