Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ecopetrol Offered Highest Bid In 9 Blocks In Colombia Auction

CARTAGENA, Colombia (Dow Jones)--Colombia's state-controlled oil company, Ecopetrol SA (ECOPETROL.BO), on Tuesday offered the highest bid to get the rights to seek oil and gas in nine of the 96 blocks auctioned by the Colombia government Tuesday.

Ecopetrol bid alone for five blocks and for two others in partnership with Spain's Repsol (REP), for another one with South Korea's SK Energy Group (096770.SE) and the last one with Venezuelan firm Cementaciones Petroleras de Venezuela SA, Ecopetrol said in a statement.

The Colombian company committed to invest $102 million in the areas. Its partners will invest an additional amount, though Ecopetrol company didn't specify how much.

The Colombian oil-licensing agency is still evaluating the different bids and will officially release the results later.

The National Hydrocarbon Agency, or ANH, had auctioned the rights to explore oil and gas in around 200 blocks and received offers for 96 blocks, Armando Zamora, the head of ANH, said Tuesday.

In total, firms committed to invest more than $1 billion in exploration in those blocks, Zamora said.

-By Inti Landauro, Dow Jones Newswires; 57-310-867 65 42;

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