Ecopetrol Plans Angola Oil Exit as African Venture Comes Up Dry

  • Wells proved costly and failed to produce hydrocarbons
  • Driller to focus on Colombia offshore, U.S., Mexico, Brazil

Colombia’s state-controlled Ecopetrol SA is seeking to leave Africa after exploration investments in Angola failed to produce commercial oil or gas.

Ecopetrol bought 10 percent stakes in blocks 38 and 39 in the Kwanza basin in Angola’s offshore, field operator Statoil ASA announced July 2014. A little over a year later, Ecopetrol is seeking to sell, according to Exploration Vice President Max Torres.

“We drilled two dry wells at a high cost, so we’ve decided to leave Angola,” Torres said in an interview in Bogota Thursday. “We’re in the process of leaving the contract. It’s a long process.”

Colombia’s largest company is also seeking to farm-out stakes in exploration contracts back home as it strives to improve its risk profile and generate funds, receiving four bids for onshore areas so far, he said. Instead the company will focus exploration on Colombia’s offshore, Brazil, Mexico and the U.S.’s Gulf of Mexico.

“Our success depends on having a good portfolio,” Torres said. “Not only selling but also buying. For example, this year we bought eight blocks in the Gulf of Mexico.”