Colombia and its state-run oil company, Ecopetrol, announced they have signed an offshore exploration and production deal for a nearly 400,000-hectare (988,000-acre) bloc in the Caribbean, the country's first new oil and gas contract in more than four years.
The country recently modified its bidding system for offshore oil and gas exploration contracts and re-launched bidding for more than 20 possible production areas.
The government, which last held an auction in 2014, repeatedly postponed bidding that had been set to take place last year because of company requests to change contract specifications.
The company will mount at least two exploratory wells, the statement said, and is optimistic the bloc will yield gas reserves in the medium term. Ecopetrol said in its own statement it was planning to seek a partner for exploration and production in the bloc. Ecopetrol currently operates in five offshore blocks.
Ecopetrol last week reported a net profit for 2018 of 11.55 trillion pesos, about US$ 3.7 billion, a five-year high and a 74.6% increase over the prior year.