- Colombia may become self sufficient from offshore natural gas
- First offshore gas production could come as early as 2027
Andrea Jaramillo, Bloomberg News
EnergiesNet.com 09 12 2023
International oil majors are eager to expand at promising natural gas projects off of Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Ecopetrol SA Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Roa said in an interview.
Recent deep-water discoveries have uncovered large volumes of gas that could eventually turn Colombia into an exporter of the fuel, and companies including Petroleo Brasileiro SA and Shell Plc have expressed interest in expanding their participation in these projects, he said.
“We’ve let it be known, to the different market participants, our willingness to allow the entrance of new players, or existing players, in these exploration areas,” Roa said. “We’ve been incorporating and receiving a lot of interest in participating.”
Bogota-based Ecopetrol is focusing future investments on offshore gas in Colombia and a fracking project in the Permian Basin in the US, in the hopes of reversing declining oil and gas output. The first offshore gas production could start as early as 2027, and could grow enough to meet domestic demand for the power-plant fuel and even allow for exports. Ecopetrol is looking for other companies to help cover the investments needed to bring these natural gas projects on line, he said.
Petrobras and Shell didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
President Gustavo Petro has stopped awarding any new oil and gas exploration licenses as part of a pledge to wean Colombia’s dependency on fossil fuels, which means oil companies will need to focus on developing the existing 11 offshore licenses. Roa said that Ecopetrol is looking into reviving onshore oil licenses that were previously abandoned by other operators due to issues including conflicts with local communities, which could help shore up the country’s overall production.
Ecopetrol is looking to accelerate renewable energy production as part of its energy transition strategy. It plans to add 900 megawatts by 2025, up from the 1,300 megawatts it’s producing now for its own energy consumption. One of the options is taking over planned wind farms that Enel Spa and EDP-Energias de Portugal SA have decided not to carry out in Colombia, Roa said.
Enel announced in May it had suspended the construction of its Windpeshi wind project in La Guajira province due to conflicts with communities and that it would look to sell it.
–With assistance from Ezra Fieser and Maria Elena Vizcaino.
bloomberg.com 09 11 2023