BHP Billiton holds a 71.4% interest in the block and is the operator. SK Energy holds the remaining 28.6% interest. The technical evaluation agreement is based on an exploration program to be undertaken by the company over a three-year period. It includes seismic acquisition and processing and exploration drilling.

Steve O’Rourke, president of exploration at BHP Billiton Petroleum, said: We are extremely pleased with this result. The Colombian government ran a very successful bid round and the Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos recognized that this type of frontier exploration requires access to large acreage tracts.