BP Amoco's Niscota drilling slips to 1Q03

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Thursday, October 31, 2002

BP Amoco will not begin drilling operations in Colombia's Niscota block until 1Q03 following a series of delays caused by bad weather and compounded by labor and technical issues, a BP spokesperson told BNamericas.

"We hope to begin moving equipment into the area early next year and begin drilling in the first quarter," the spokesperson said. Original plans were to drill in 2H02.

A longer and more severe rainy season than usual caused several landslides and affected construction of the site access road. Furthermore, road construction was temporarily suspended while security concerns were resolved after "illegal armed groups" threatened workers, the spokesperson said.

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"The road is almost complete," the spokesperson continued, adding that although BP had provided part of the road financing, construction was the responsibility of the municipality of Niscota and the local mayor.

BP signed the Niscota association contract with Colombia's state oil company Ecopetrol in 2000. The companies each own 50% of the block, and BP plans to invest around US$100mn there in the first three years.

Seismic studies were completed earlier in the year, but until drilling takes place it is impossible to put an estimate on the reserves that the block might hold, the spokesperson said.