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Panama is hoping that oil-bearing formations extend from producing areas in Colombia and hold up to 900 million barrels of oil reserves.
With the country entirely dependent on imported oil, the prospect of finding domestic supplies is very timely. The estimated reserves are based on a survey done by OTS, a Venezuelan consultant, which indicated that oil-bearing formations in two basins in Colombia should extend into Panama.
The survey was conducted in Darien Province in the Garachine-Sambu and Bayano-Chucunaque-Atrato basins on the Colombian border. Financing for the survey was partially provided by the Inter-American Development Bank and Panama's Energy Secretariat. The total cost was $476,765.
Based on the survey, each basin will likely be divided into four exploration blocks. The government has yet to announce a timetable for bidding. Exploratory drilling in the country has yet to yield any commercial oil production.