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Report: 6 companies offer bids for 21 Colombian oil exploration areas

Six mostly foreign companies have made bids for oil in 21 areas in Colombia under a new system that is meant to promote investment and find new deposits to increase the nation's reserves, Reuters reported Aug. 31, citing a senior government official.

According to Reuters, the new system allows companies to bid to explore areas that have not been offered by the Colombian government. In addition, the system will give priority to the first company that requests access to additional areas.

Orlando Velandia, president of the National Hydrocarbons Agency, told Reuters on Aug. 30 that all bids so far were for the continental zone, which tends to be cheaper than offshore.

Citing confidentiality, the companies were not named.

Velandia said that the country is preparing to offer another 20 exploration blocks, including two offshore, which will demand initial investments amounting to $400 million.

In addition, Valendia said that the changes will help attract more spending and double reserves to about 10 years' worth of consumption.