Latest Discovery May Prove Colombia's Biggest Oil Find

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- Colombian President Ernesto Samper said state oil company Ecopetrol's latest oil discovery in the Coporo field of Eastern Colombia could be the country's biggest find yet.

"It could be larger than Cusiana," said Samper, in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Cusiana is currently Colombia's largest field, with about 1.5 billion barrels of oil, according to estimates from British Petroleum Co.

Still, Ecopetrol president Luis Bernardo Florez was more cautious, saying the early geological tests suggest reserves of 700 million barrels of oil, which would make Coporo Colombia's third largest field. There are no indications of natural gas. "It's one of the largest finds, for sure, after Cusiana and Cano Limon," Florez said. Florez said Ecopetrol will have more complete results at the end of October, after it finishes drilling on its first test well. The company has drilled to 16,000 feet, and intends to dig deseper, to 18,000 feet. The company will spend about $45 million to $48 million on this first well, about 80 kilometers south of Cusiana, he said. Ecopetrol will drill two more wells in the area over the next two years, meaning production likely won't begin until late 1998 or 1999. "I don't want to create false expectations, but it's good news there is oil there," Florez said. "And it confirms that in the south of Piedemonte there are good prospects for oil." He said the quality of the oil in Coporo appears to be high, comparable to Cusiana crude, which is often priced just below the price of West Texas Intermediate, a benchmark crude. …