Statoil (NYSE:STO) reported late Thursday that it has signed farm-in agreements with Repsol (OTCPK:REPYF, OTCQX:REPYY) to acquire stakes in two licenses offshore Colombia - a 10% share in the Tayrona license and 20% in the Guajira Offshore-1 license.
Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) operates Tayrona with a 40% stake, and Repsol retains 20% of the license after its farm-down to STO; the remaining 30% is held by Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC).
Repsol operates Guajira Offshore-1 and retains 30%, with EC holding the remaining 50%.
Barclays regards Russian oil and gas companies as too risky for now, with no reason to assume any resolution to the Ukrainian crisis in the near term, but it sees Latin American energy stocks offering a more appealing set of risk/rewards.
Of the firm's two Overweight ratings among emerging market energy stocks, the firm says Pacific Rubiales (OTCPK:PEGFF) offers a combination of relatively small size, expertise in heavy oil and is positioned to take part in Mexico's energy reform.
The firm also likes Petrobras (NYSE:PBR), expecting near- to medium-term positive momentum following the Brazilian presidential election in October, but it remains concerned about production and reserve replacement at Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC).
In South Africa, Barclays believes Sasol (NYSE:SSL) is entering a period of sustainable positive momentum, with a number of potential near- to medium-term catalysts which could boost valuation.
Colombia's Bicentenario crude oil pipeline has been shut down after being damaged in a bombing by leftist rebels, the latest of regular explosions carried out by guerrillas on the country's oil infrastructure.
The consortium that owns the pipeline, led by state-run Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC) and Pacific Rubiales (OTCPK:PEGFF), does not know when the pipeline could reopen, although repairs to frequent attacks on Colombia's oil pipelines usually take place within a few days once the zone is secured.
Colombia is Latin America's fourth biggest oil producer with output of nearly 1M bbl/day, but the country has been hit by 67 attacks in H1 of the year following a total of 259 in 2013.
PEGFF has been seeking a new contract in the Rubiales field, where its license will expire mid-2016, and proposes to share oil extracted using STAR under a future deal with EC, but critics say the technology causes tremors and water pollution.
Tudor Pickering downgraded its rating on PEGFF to Hold from Buy after the decision to end the STAR pilot program, saying the stock may struggle to perform in the near term amid constrained production growth.
Pacific Rubiales (OTCMKTS:PEGFF) fell to eight-week lows on concerns that tests of its oil recovery technology won’t be enough to persuade Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC) to use it in Colombia’s largest field.
Pacific execs are meeting with EC officials to discuss the test results of the STAR technology, which is designed to increase flow by heating oil in the well; Pacific is proposing to share production extracted using STAR at the Rubiales field, where it has a partnership with EC that expires in mid-2016.
While Pacific says STAR is effective and safe, the USO oil workers union says it causes water pollution and tremors.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) announces a third major discovery in the Norphlet play in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico with its successful Rydberg exploration well.
Shell is completing the full evaluation of the well results but expects the resource base to contain ~100M boe; combined with the nearby Appomattox and Vicksburg discoveries, the new discovery brings total potential Norphlet discoveries to 700M-plus boe.
The discovery is the first for the partnership of operator Shell, with a 57.2% stake, Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC) and Nexen (NYSE:CEO).
Pacific Rubiales is Colombia's biggest private oil producer, with output last year of ~129K bbl/day, and plans to export LNG using the 52-mile pipeline starting sometime next year.
At the same time, state-run Ecopetrol (EC) is looking into the viability of building a gas pipeline that would be capable of moving gas both directions to allow for both exports and imports at different times.
Colombia's Ecopetrol (EC +0.3%) declares force majeure on some deliveries of medium Vasconia crude after the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline was damaged by a series of attacks by leftist guerillas.
The pipeline has been shut since a March 25 blast, and EC says normally speedy repairs could not take place because of objections made by an indigenous community near the blast site.
Occidental Petroleum (OXY +1.1%), which like EC relies on the pipeline to pump oil to the Caribbean coast from the OXY-operated Cano Limon oil field, says it suspended some contractors due to the pipeline's closure.
Colombia's Ecopetrol (EC) said on Friday it plans capital spending of $10.6B in 2014, an 11% Y/Y increase which would help the country boost crude reserves, drill 20 exploratory wells mostly onshore, and revamping one of its two main refineries.
The 2014 plan forecasts average production of 770K boe/day in Colombia, and 819K boe/day when subsidiaries the company holds a stake in are included; EC and its share of the subsidiaries averaged 791K in the first nine months of 2013, up 5.4% Y/Y.
Most of the new exploratory wells will be drilled in the Eastern Plains, a promising oil region where EC just announced 35M barrels of proven reserves in an area it has been drilling together with Talisman Energy (TLM).
Ecopetrol (EC +0.2%) and Talisman Energy (TLM -0.6%) declare the commercial viability of the Akacias oil field they have been exploring together, which they say will add at least 35M barrels of reserves for both the companies and Colombia's dwindling supply.
EC expects production at Akacias to reach 25K bbl/day by late 2015 from the current 5.5K bbl/day, and says the field "clearly shows the heavy crude potential in the area of Llanos, which is the focus of the exploratory campaign to reach Ecopetrol's target of producing 1M of clean barrels in 2015 and 1.3M barrels in 2020."
Last week, EC announced the commercial viability of another oil area, Eastern Cano Sur, in the same region.
Colombian's state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol (EC +1.9%) says it is ready to start ramping up production in its promising Eastern Caño Sur oil block as part of its efforts to boost production by a third over the next two years.
EC says the block is commercially viable and will see production rise to 25K bbl/day by 2016 from the current 1,700; investment will total $656M through 2018, with ~135 wells expected to be dug.
EC has said its 2012 production of 754K bbl/day will reach 1M by 2015, as it pours money into exploration and drilling.
Colombia's Ecopetrol (EC) says it plans to spend as much as $75B by 2020 to lift oil and gas production to 1.3M boe/day, which would represent a rise of more than 60% over output levels of 800K boe/day this Q3.
~90% of the new projects will be developed in Colombia and are expected to mainly be funded through internal cash generation, CEO Javier Gutierrez tells investors.
A conversion project at the Cartagena refinery should eventually allow an increase in per-barrel gross refining margins to as much as $15-$20, up from ~$5 now, EC says; the project will allow the plant to process up to 95% heavy crude, up from ~70% now.