Two Canadian oil companies bid on four blocks in Colombia auction

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Two Canadian oil companies placed bids on four onshore blocks in Colombia’s most recent oil auction, the national hydrocarbons agency (ANH) said on Friday.

Some 16 companies originally qualified to bid, in a difficult year for fossil fuels due to falling demand, high supply and low prices.

“We thank the companies that have participated,” Energy Minister Diego Mesa said in a recorded message played during a virtual ceremony, in which he described this year as “atypical.”

CNE Oil & Gas, a subsidiary of Canacol Energy Ltd CNE.TO, and the Colombian arm of Parex Resources Ltd PXT.TO each placed two bids in the auction.

Parex Resources bid on blocks LLA 134 and VIM 43, while CNE Oil & Gas bid on VIM 44 and VMM 47.

The four bids have an approximate value of $40 million, ANH President Armando Zamora said during the ceremony.

Qualified companies will be able to submit counteroffers for the four blocks on Nov. 17, the ANH said.

The ANH awarded 15 blocks last November, after granting 11 oil contracts in June 2019.

The smaller showing this year follows pressure on the industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, an ANH spokeswoman said.

Brazil’s oil and gas regulator in April approved the temporary suspension of that country’s 17th exploration and production oil round due to the coronavirus health crisis.

(This story fixes date in dateline.)

Reporting by Oliver Griffin; editing by Jonathan Oatis