April 30, 2018 / 11:44 PM / 3 months ago

Colombia delays Sinu-San Jacinto oil bidding for sixth time

BOGOTA, April 30 (Reuters) - Colombia's oil regulator said on Monday it postponed Thursday's deadline to receive offers for 15 onshore areas at its Sinu-San Jacinto auction until the second half of the year, following a request by the bidding companies.

The delay marked the sixth time the reception of offers for the areas had been postponed.

Colombia is the third Latin American country hosting an oil auction this year, after Mexico and Brazil. Its bidding round comes after a four-year pause during which low oil prices stopped many countries in the region from offering their acreage for foreign investment.

The round was delayed by request of the six companies qualified for bidding, the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) said in a statement. It did not specify when the rescheduled round would take place.

Six companies have qualified for bidding: Canada-based Parex Resources Inc, Gran Tierra Energy Inc, Chinese CNOOC's unit Nexen Petroleum, Colombia's Hocol, Repsol's Talisman Energy, and U.S.-based Noble Energy Inc .

Colombia has invested some $200 million to study the offered areas, ANH President Orlando Velandia has said.

Colombia needs to boost foreign investment to revive its stagnant crude and gas production. The Andean country plans to slightly increase output to 900,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day this year. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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