Gas Natural Awards BP Consortium US$350mn Natgas Contract

Colombian gas distribution company Gas Natural ESP has awarded a consortium led by British oil giant BP (NYSE: BP) a US$350mn contract to supply 90 million cubic feet of natural gas a day (mcf/d) to central Colombia for seven years.

The contract will be signed in the next 15 days, BP's gas business manager in Colombia, Robert Child, told BNamericas.

The contract is worth US$50mn a year from 2005 -2012. The idea is to help meet growing gas demand in central and southern Colombia, a different BP source told BNamericas.

French company Total subsidiary Tepma and state oil company Ecopetrol are BP's partners on the Cusiana oil and gas field in the eastern province of Casanare, which will supply the gas. BP operates the field with a 24% stake, Ecopetrol has 60% and Tepma has 15%. The companies have built a gas processing plant as part of the Cusiana complex that currently produces 70mcf/d sold to Ecopetrol at the wellhead for commercialization in Bogotá, the source said. The plan is to expand the plant's capacity to 180mcf/d by mid-2005, of which 90mcf/d will be sold to Gas Natural and the remaining 90mcf/d will be sold through other contracts. BP and its partners will invest a total of US$150mn to build the plant, the source said.

Colombia aims to increase the number of residential natural gas clients to about 4 million in the next few years from 3.2 million at present, energy minister Luis Ernesto Mejía said at a conference recently.

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