The Mineral Management Services ("MMS"), a US governmental agency, published the bids it had received to in connection with the allocation of exploratory blocks in the central part of the Gulf of Mexico as part of the Oil & Gas Lease Sale 208.
Ecopetrol through its affiliate, Ecopetrol America Inc., submitted the most competitive bids for 26 blocks. In 15 of the bids, Ecopetrol was the sole participant. In the remaining 11 bids, Ecopetrol participated jointly with Repsol E&P USA Inc., with Ecopetrol's participation ranging from 40% to 60%.
The bids submitted by Ecopetrol for the 26 blocks total an aggregate amount of US $20.5 million, plus a lease-cost per block of nearly US $60 thousand per annum. It is estimated that the investment to be made by the Company in these blocks will exceed US $20 million in three years, not including well drilling.
MMS will allow hydrocarbon exploration of up to 400 meters into deep water for a period of 8 to 10 years.
The next step in the bidding process is the allocation of awards by MMS, which will take place within 60 to 90 days.
In the bidding for offshore blocks, which took place today in New Orleans, 70 companies submitted 476 for 348 blocks. The total area being offered by MMS is 1.9 million acres of deep water offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Ecopetrol's participation in this bidding process is part of the Company's internationalization project as well as the Company's strategy to obtain a production of one million barrels of oil equivalent by the year 2015.
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