The Colombian state oil company said the block in the eastern part of the province near the Puerto Gaitan contains proved reserves of 22.4 million barrels of oil with an estimated 492 million barrels in place in place.
“We are very pleased to announce the commercial viability of this block, which contributes to Ecopetrol’s target of producing one million clean barrels by 2015 and which is one of the outcomes of the exploratory campaign we have been working on steadily since the last decade,” company chief executive Javier Gutierrez said.
“The results obtained in Cano Sur confirm the potential for heavy crudes in this zone, one of the strategic focuses of the company.”
Ecopetrol holds a 100% stake in the Eastern Cano Sur block, which covers 54,211 hectares. It is about 9% the size of the overall Cano Sur block, where Ecopetrol is partnered with Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell.
Estimates on the Eastern Cano Sur block are pending certification on a study by three independent firms, and the company plans to book the reserves by year’s end.
Ecopetrol plans to spend $656 million on the block in the next five years to drill 135 wells, build surface facilities and make “social and environmental investments”.
The goal is to bring production to 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by mid-2016 from below 2000 boepd at present.
The area has seen 61 wells of various types drilled. Cumulative productin since 2011 has been 516,881 barrels of 13.5 API crude.
Colombia is seeking to ramp up heavy-oil production in the eastern Llanos trend, aspiring to mirror the success of Venezuela’s famed Orinoco belt.