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Majors eye Colombian shale

Interest in Colombia’s shale gas and oil is picking up as companies prepare to submit bids for the country’s 2012 licensing round, which sees 31 blocks with unconventional potential up for auction, the head of state-run Ecopetrol said

“It’s exciting because the majors are totally interested... many people are interested,” Javier Gutiérrez, Ecopetrol’s chief executive, told PEU at an investor meeting in London. Colombia has taken a novel approach to marketing its unconventional acreage, becoming one of the first countries in the world to put shale blocks up for bidding under distinct fiscal and operating terms. Companies will submit their bids for the 2012 licensing round on 17 October, with results expected before the end of the year. Colombia has sweetened the financial terms for unconventional exploration, offering a discount on royalty rates and raising the threshold for windfall taxes. The country has also extended

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