Ecopetrol Reviews Exploration Contracts for 2002

Ecopetrol is expected to sign 20 new oil exploration contracts with foreign companies in 2002, down from 28 contracts in 2001. Ecopetrol chief Alberto Calderon also said he expected companies including BP, TotalfinaElf, Repsol, Occidental, ChevronTexaco and Petrobras to invest up to $750 million in Columbian oil exploration over the next four to five years. Calderon also expects Ecopetrol to sign three offshore exploration contracts for potential fields in the Caribbean in the first six months of 2002. Colombia's Caribbean coast has potential oil reserves of 3 billion barrels. Colombia signed nearly 60 oil exploration contracts in the past two years, with most investments concentrated in the Andean nation's eastern mountain chain where BP's 365,00 bpd Cusiana-Cupiagua fields are located.