South America boasts plenty of unconventional prospects for local and foreign players to develop over the coming years, by some estimates, shale resources may amount to four times Colombia’s total reserves.
Ecopetrol (NYSE: EC), Colombia’s state-oil company, recently revealed its plans to focus on shale exploration in their most prolific region, Magdalena Medio. The Cretaceous Luna and Tablazo Formations there converge and are estimated to hold 30 billion barrels of oil equivalent (Bboe).
Former president Juan Carlos Echeverry said Ecopetrol estimates that there is between 2.5 billion to 7 billion recoverable barrels in the region, if not more. “After the U.S. and Argentina’s Vaca Muerta, our unconventional play seems to be the most substantial in the Western Hemisphere. We won’t know until we drill,” said Echeverry.
The Energy Information Administration commissioned Advanced Resources International to undertake a thorough study of Colombia’s unconventional potential back in 2013. Back then, the study put the La Luna and Tablazo shales at 18 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and 4.6 billion barrels (Bbbl) of risked, technically recoverable, shale gas and oil. As for unrisked resources, the figures grew to an exponential 135 Tcf and 79 Bbbl, which is only the Magdalena Medio Valley.