Petrosantander to Select San Benedicto Partner by End-Q2

Colombian oil independent Petrosantander could select a partner by the end of the second quarter to take a 50% stake in its San Benedicto prospect in Colombia's Middle Magdalena basin, company exploration manager Jerry Mathalone told BNamericas.

San Benedicto lies under the La Salina field in the Las Monas block.

Las Monas has three producing fields - Payoa, La Salina and Corazón - that together with Provincia, the same field as Payoa but operated by state oil company Ecopetrol rather than Petrosantander, have produced 300,000 barrels of oil and 1.3 trillion cubic feet of gas historically.

Petrosantander wants to partner because it is a production company rather than an exploration company and wants to reduce risk, Mathalone said. A number of companies are assessing San Benedicto, he added, declining to name them because of confidentiality agreements.

On San Benedicto, Petrosantander expects oil rather than gas and the development plan it would like to implement includes drilling one well that would cost some US$7mn-8mn, the executive said. The eventual partner would be able to make suggestions regarding the development plan.

Petrosantander does not intend to divest any equity in producing fields. In Las Monas it owns 70% and Ecopetrol 30% in a contract valid for the economic life of the field. Current production on Las Monas is 3,300 barrels a day of oil and 15 million cubic feet a day of natural gas.

However, installed processing and transport capacity is well in excess of that so if San Benedicto yields hydrocarbons, they could be monetized immediately.

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