BOGOTA, Colombia, June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ecopetrol S.A. (BVC: ECOPETROL; NYSE: EC; TSX: ECP) placed the most competitive bids in 6 blocks in the "Central Planning Area Lease Sale 216/222" round through its U.S. affiliate (Ecopetrol America Inc.) held in New Orleans as was disclosed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the governmental authority in charge of the process in the United States.
Murphy Exploration and Production and Repsol E&P USA Inc are Ecopetrol's partners in 5 blocks and Apache Corporation and Samson Offshore is a partner in one block.
The official awarding of the blocks will be conducted by the BOEM in the coming months after the final review of bids and ascertaining that the companies fulfill the conditions required for the round.The bids placed by Ecopetrol and its partners in the 6 blocks amount in the aggregate to approximately US $40 million with Ecopetrol's share approximately US$12.75 million. These blocks allow deep sea hydrocarbon exploration in water depths of over 800 meters for a 7 to 10-year period. The new blocks are in addition to the 42 obtained on the U.S. Gulf Coast ( Gulf of Mexico) in previous Lease Sales. If awarded, with these 6 blocks, Ecopetrol will increase its participation in this prolific hydrocarbon basin to 122 blocks. 56 companies participated in the round of offshore blocks located in the U.S. Gulf Coast ( Gulf of Mexico), and placed 593 bids on 454 blocks. The total area offered was 2.4 million acres. Ecopetrol believes that the results obtained strengthen Ecopetrol's position in the U.S. Gulf Coast ( Gulf of Mexico), considered a focus area in its internationalization process. ------------------------------------------