A well in the Colombian department of Santander has discovered crude oil, Ecopetrol announced today. The state-controlled oil company revealed that the find was confirmed by the Boranda-1 well in the Magdalena Middle Valley municipality of Rio Negro, at a depth of more than 3,600 meters, in four intervals of oil sands with a total thickness of 40 meters in the Esmeraldas formation.
Ecopetrol holds a 50% interest in the well, which is operated and 50% controlled by Parex Resources, a Canadian exploration and natural resources company based in Calgary. The company said that the Boranda find comes with the “competitive and operational advantage” of being nearby two crude receiving stations, Payoa and Provincia, and the large Barrancabermeja refinery located on the banks of the Magdalena River in Santander.
According to Ecopetrol, this is the fourth discovery that it has an interest in made in the past four months. “This new discovery forms part of Ecopetrol’s strategy,” said the company in a statement. “One of its focuses is on exploration in regions near production fields. Boranda is in the production range of the Aullador and Cristalina fields to the southwest, and Pavas-Cachira to the northeast.”
The other finds have been offshore, with Ecopetrol participating in deepwater discoveries in the Colombian Caribbean at the Purple Angel well and the Gulf of Mexico at the Warrior well. An Ecopetrol subsidiary, Hocol, also recently participated in a find in the Colombian Caribbean at the Bullerengue Sur-1 well.
After adopting a conservative strategy last year in terms of capital expenditures, the company has said it plans to more than double its exploration investment this year compared to 2016. With a 2017 exploration budget of $652 million USD, Ecopetrol is planning to drill 17 wells this year along with its partners. Six of these are expected to be drilled offshore (six in Colombian waters and one in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico) with 11 being located on land throughout Colombia.
“The exploration campaign will be stepped up significantly in regions of high prospectivity,” said Ecopetrol CEO Juan Carlos Echeverry earlier this month in a statement. “Investment in exploration will rise from $280 million USD to $650 million USD, thus increasing offshore wells from 2 to 6 and onshore wells from 5 to 11 from 2016 to 2017. Enhanced recovery will continue to leverage additional reserves in mature fields. We stress that a strong cash position allows us to assess opportunities for inorganic growth in the Ecopetrol Business Group’s reserves.”