The Colombian Government has signed exploration and production (E&P) contracts with Anadarko Colombia, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, for four offshore blocks.

The four blocks, COL-1, COL-2, COL-6, and COL-7, are estimated to cost $1.4bn in total, reported Reuters.

The blocks being offered by the government are located off the coasts of the La Guajira, Magdalena, and Atlantico provinces of Colombia.

According to Colombia’s National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH), the blocks cover an area of nearly 1.6 million hectares.

ANH president Armando Zamora was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The four contracts make up a third node for exploratory activity which, added to the two existing areas being developed in the maritime areas of La Guajira and Uraba, completes the panorama of potential of the entire Caribbean coast.”

The ANH said that new blocks would ensure energy independence as the country is left with less than eight years of gas reserves.

Colombian Minister of Mines and Energy Diego Mesa said that the latest E&P contracts bring the total number of contracts signed under the present government to 39.

Mesa was cited by Reuters as saying: “This is a very important milestone.

“This confirms that Colombia’s hydrocarbons sector continues to very attractive to direct foreign investment.”

Earlier this year, Occidental Petroleum agreed to sell non-strategic acreage in the Permian Basin in Texas to an affiliate of Colgate Energy Partners III for $508m.

The Permian Basin assets have approximately 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) of production capacity from about 360 active wells.