Petrobras, in partnership with Ecopetrol, has initiated the drilling of the Uchuva-2 appraisal well in the Tayrona block offshore Colombia.

This operation aims to assess the extent of the natural gas discovery made in the Uchuva-1 exploration well in July 2022.

The Uchuva-1 exploratory well, situated in deep waters at 837m, lies approximately 32km from the coastline and 76km from the city of Santa Marta.

Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petrobras holds a 44.4% operatorship stake in the Tayrona block while Colombian petroleum company Ecopetrol owns the majority 55.6% interest.

Ecopetrol’s projections indicate that the Tayrona block could commence gas production by 2026.

Ecopetrol Costa Afuera vice-president Elsa Jeanneth Jaimes said: “Uchuva-1 is considered a very significant discovery for Ecopetrol and Colombia because it ratified the importance of the Caribbean as one of the main sources of gas for our country.

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“Uchuva-2 will allow us to obtain more information about what has been discovered and the necessary information from the site for the planning and execution of the connection with the consumption centres, contributing to the supply of the country.”

In May 2023, Reuters reported that Petrobras decided against selling its stake in the Tayrona block.

Colombia is looking to accelerate the discovery and develop offshore gas reserves to reduce its reliance on imports. It also intends to support a range of businesses, from petrochemicals to power.

The Tayrona block is expected to hold natural gas reserves of up to four trillion cubic feet, reported the news agency, citing Petrobras executives.