The first priority for the country is adding more barrels of oil to its proven reserves, given the precariousness of these, since the 2.445 million barrels hardly give the country 6.6 years of self-sufficiency. Therefore, it is said of Colombia that instead of being an oil country is a country with oil. However, it is noteworthy that, due to the exploratory efforts of recent years, in 2007 the fall of stocks has paused and picked up since 2008. Over the past four years (2010 - 2013) proven reserves increased 18% and this is all the more remarkable when you consider that production in the same period grew more than proportionally, 27.3%, from an average of 785,000 barrels / day-year to more than a million barrels per day.
And this has been possible without finding neither a Caño Limón nor Cusiana in the last twenty years, but aided by a string of small finds which together have enabled the incorporation of greater reserves while the country has gained more petroleum prospectivity. Since then, Colombia has also contributed to reserves through the application of new improved-recovery technologies. To highlight the fact that the participation of increased reserves corresponding to new discoveries has been in crescendo, last year these reached 39% of the total.
However, since the government's goal is to move from a relationship of reserves to production (R / P) of 6.6 in the current year to 10 in 2018, achieving this will require moving from reserve additions last year of 436 million barrels to adding 615 million barrels annually. In other words, we need to move from a current reserve replacement index of 118% to 167%, a daunting task. This country has to pick up the pace on exploratory activity, and not just limited to conventional reservoirs but also expanding the frontier into the unconventional, as well as the already-committed campaign to search for offshore hydrocarbons.
That's the country’s bet with the recent Ronda Colombia 2014. Indeed the country passed from 21 exploratory wells drilled in 2004 to 131 in 2012, recording a slight fall in 2013 when 115 were drilled when 130 was the goal and now 135 wells are projected for this year. Of course, to achieve this goal it is necessary to remove three major pitfalls that are holding back the oil industry in the country: the terrorist attacks against its infrastructure, social unrest and the delays in the processes of environmental licensing and prior consultations.
We do not think we need to promote changes in the legal regulations to attract investment and stimulate oil and gas activity in the country, whose last adjustments were made to encourage production increases and more recently as it pertains to the exploration and development of unconventional reservoirs. What is at issue is that these rules are followed and thus win legal certainty, which is what at times is compromised when circumstances arise in the environment of the activity that put you at risk. A recent study by Arthur D. Little shows Colombia has Latin America's most attractive fiscal terms as well as its political and investment climate, receiving a rating of 3.9 out of 5, beating, among others, Mexico and Brazil. That is, that Colombia remains competitive and attractive for investment and investors in the oil industry.
Who is Amylkar Acosta?
Amylkar Acosta Medina was, until recently, Colombia’s Minister of Mines and Energy. Previously, he headed the country’s Biofuels association (of which he was a founder) and was a member of the Board of Ecopetrol, representing petroleum-producing regions in 2013 and then later as Mininas. He served as Vice Minister of Mines and Energy in César Gaviria’s government in the early 90’s. Acosta was twice elected to Colombia’s Senate, holding the post of President of the Senate in 1997 and 1998.
Born in La Guajira and educated at the University of Antioquia, he returned as a professor of the Guajira University in the late seventies. Based on his energy experience, he was appointed President of the Colombian Gas Company in the late eighties.
Currently, he is teaching at the Externado University in Bogotá.
Bogotá, september of 2014