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News & Knowledge

Colombia: Offshore exploration, a pending assignment

5th February 2019
Diana Sanclemente - Sanclemente Fernandez Abogados SA

Colombia still lags in offshore exploratory activities, a situation negatively affecting development of the country. Hydrocarbon exploration and recovery are key conditions for local markets to grow stronger while maintaining their competitiveness in the eyes of foreign investors. Onshore exploration, that is, over land territories of countries, should be supplemented by efforts to make offshore exploration acquire enough momentum and become a real and efficient part of the economies. Unfortunately, Colombia is significantly behind in this endeavor. MSI's Colombian law member Sanclemente Fernandez Abogados SA provides further insight.

“It is no secret that offshore exploration is expensive as it implies carrying out surveys with a different geological and geophysical scope in order to acquire a detailed knowledge of basins classified as offshore basins by Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos (ANH). Due to the above, it is necessary for the State to manifest its actual intent of carrying it out. Hence it has been very encouraging to hear the new president of the ANH hold “offshore” as a “strategic objective” at recent seminar presentations, states Diana Sanclemente, senior partner at the law firm Sanclemente Fernández Abogados S.A.

Figures provided by Mrs. Sanclemente show that approximately only one third of square kilometers of offshore basins have been covered under a geophysical intervention process termed 3D seismic survey, which allows assessing whether there are any hydrocarbons in the marine subsurface.

“These surveys have been conducted by international exploration and production companies in performance of exploratory commitments and the results are confidential for a certain time period according to the respective contract and regulations. This type of investigations should be carried out by ANH preeminently well in advance to any round of offshore blocks so that the companies may acquire leading technology produced data and study the same in order to participate in bidding processes concerning such blocks”, adds Mrs. Sanclemente.

To date bathymetry technical studies are being performed on the sea bed yet it should be a government priority to complete 3D seismic surveys in the remaining two thirds of basins belonging to our country, as well as encouraging offshore drilling by international companies and  Ecopetrol Costa Afuera Colombia S.A.S.

Read the full article on ‘Colombia: Offshore exploration, a pending assignment’

About Sanclemente Fernandez Abogados SA - Bogota

For over 75 years we have been successfully advising leading companies in the national and international market in matters relating to foreign investment, corporate, commercial, labor, tax, environmental laws, litigations and contracts.

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