Gran Tierra to boost oil production with water injection technology

Andrea Jaramillo, Bloomberg March 17, 2023

(Bloomberg) – Gran Tierra Energy Inc. expects to squeeze as much as 10% more oil out of its Colombian and Ecuadorian fields this year after investing in a technology that injects water to boost pressure.

The Canadian company is looking to step up output in Colombia, which accounts for most of its production, by improving techniques such as adding so-called waterflood facilities in the main fields. It’s a way of growing in a country that may not offer new contracts as President Gustavo Petro vows to wean the economy off fossil fuels.

“We’ve done all the investments,” Manuel Buitrago, who heads Gran Tierra’s Colombian unit, said in an interview from a conference in Cartagena this week. “Our focus has always been financial discipline and improved technical practices.”

Gran Tierra holds 21 blocks in Colombia and three in neighboring Ecuador, where it started to produce last year. The Calgary-based firm sees production of 32,000 to 34,000 bopd this year on average, up from 30,800 last year, he said.

The company is focused on existing contracts in the two countries, with plans to invest as much as $250 million this year, mostly in Colombia. It made two discoveries in each country in 2022 and will have four to six exploration wells this year, said Buitrago.

President Petro’s pledge to phase out the economy’s dependence on oil and coal has weighed on Colombian assets as well as producer shares. Gran Tierra has lost more than 40% in Toronto since Petro was elected in June, while state controlled Ecopetrol SA is down about 14% in Bogota.

Mines and Energy Minister Irene Velez has repeatedly indicated the government won’t sign new oil contracts. But joint statements this week from the mines and energy, finance and trade ministries indicated that the need is still being analyzed. No new contracts “for now” doesn’t mean no new contracts ever, Energy Undersecretary Cristian Andres Diaz told the conference Thursday.

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