Ecopetrol will develop the blocks in partnership with Spanish energy company Repsol which will have a 50% stake through its subsidiary Repsol E & P USA. The Repsol subsidiary will be the operator of the four deepwater blocks.

The blocks marked as Garden Banks 77, 78, 121 and 122 were secured during Lease Sale 249, a competitive process that was held by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in August.

Through the award, the partners will hold the right to carry out exploration in the blocks for five years at a water depth of nearly 240m.

Lease Sale 249 featured close to 76 million acres offshore oil and gas exploration and development across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida portions of the Gulf of Mexico.

According to Ecopetrol, the blocks that it has been awarded with are located in areas where the so-called "Blacktail" prospects are located. These prospects are located close to production platforms which would facilitate early production, owing to the potential of connecting with available facilities in the area, should there be a discovery.

Ecopetrol stated that the new blocks are part of its exploratory strategy to boost its reserves and hydrocarbon production, which lists offshore areas as one of its priority areas.

Further, the company said that the addition of the "Blacktail" prospect to the portfolio supports its initiative of concentrating on prospects in proximity to areas with existing infrastructure.

Ecopetrol president Felipe Bayón said: “We are pleased to increase the presence in areas with high potential offshore the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, where we already have a production exceeding 12 thousand barrels per day, thanks to the outstanding work of our technicians and the partnership with a partner like Repsol, with which we have other exploratory projects in Colombia and abroad.”

Image: Ecopetrol will develop four offshore blocks in US Gulf of Mexico alongside Repsol. Photo: courtesy of ECOPETROL S.A.