UPDATE 1-Colombia's Ecopetrol says Cano Sur oil block commercially viable
BOGOTA, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Colombia's state oil company Ecopetrol said on Thursday the onshore Cano Sur block it owns, is commercially viable with proven reserves of 22.4 million barrels, an important top-up to supplies that had diminished in recent years.
Ecopetrol said it expected to take production to around 25,000 barrels per day by 2016 at the block in the southeastern province of Meta, in which it will invest $656 million and drill 135 wells. It said the site could contain as much as 492 million barrels of crude.
The announcement was made by Ecopetrol's Vice President Hector Manosalvo at a press conference also attended by Chief Executive Javier Gutierrez.
Boosting reserves has been a priority for Latin America's fourth-biggest oil producer after Venezuela, Mexico and Brazil. By the end of 2012, Ecopetrol's reserves were 1.88 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The proven reserves in Cano Sur would add about 1 percent to that amount.
The publicly traded company plans to spend $75 billion by 2020 to increase oil and gas production to 1.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), from a current output of around 800,000 boed.
Nationwide, by the end of 2012, Colombia had reserves of 2.3 billion barrels, up 5.2 percent from 2011, guaranteeing domestic supplies for 6.9 years.