Colombia - Commercial Guide
Oil and Gas

This is the best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2019-10-13


Table 15: Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Equipment Overview   




2019 estimated

Total Local Production




Total Exports




Total Imports




Imports from the U.S.




Total Market Size




Exchange Rates

COP 2,951

COP 3,000

COP 3,300

Units: USD millions  
Source: World Trade Atlas; Industry Associations   

The oil and gas sector is a key generator of central government income and, as the industry gradually recovers globally from the long period of low commodity prices that started in 2014, it is also recovering with President Duque’s efforts to reactivate long-delayed policies and regulations to attract foreign investment in the development of onshore and offshore exploration activities. Industry reports a more optimistic view of the medium-term; however, there are still several hurdles from municipalities opposing extractive industry activities, extensive timelines for environmental licensing, and ongoing attacks to the country’s energy infrastructure from insurgency groups like the ELN. Operating companies also have high production costs and face relatively high taxes.  

During 2018, Colombia reached an average production rate of 886,000 barrels per day, a decline from its 2015 peak of over 1 million barrels per day. However, average natural gas production reached 1.05 billion cubic feet per day with Ecopetrol (Equion and Chevron leading the production), revealing a worrisome downward trend due to declining fields. The government under President Duque is aggressively promoting investment in offshore oil and gas exploration and moving forward with a process that could result in the exploration and production of unconventional hydrocarbons to help increase the country’s reserves of crude oil and natural gas to reduce the risk of becoming net importers of hydrocarbons. 

The Ministry of Mines and Energy reports that Colombia’s known oil reserves dropped to 1.9 billion barrels due to the lack of significant oil discoveries, allowing for the country to be self-sufficient until 2025, with an increased risk of becoming a net importer of crude oil if no major discoveries are found before then.  Natural gas reserves dropped to 3.7 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven reserves.  

Leading Sub-Sectors:
•    Seismic activity services (two and three dimensional)
•    Drilling equipment (including directional drilling) and drilling fluids 
•    Wellhead Equipment (Christmas trees, valves, compressors, pumps, piping equipment, safety equipment, well completion, casing, and cementing equipment) 
•    Improved production stimulation and artificial lift systems
•    Enhanced oil recovery for selected fields 
•    Crude oil and natural gas pipeline design and construction services

The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) has mandated all exploration and production companies operating in Colombia to provide the agency with information on hydrocarbons resource and reserves following approved methodologies by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), World Petroleum Council (WPC), and American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).  ANH estimates undiscovered resource reserves of conventional hydrocarbons could reach up to 10 billion barrels and unconventional hydrocarbons reserves could reach up to 20 billion barrels.  Preliminary conventional natural gas reserves could yield up to 11.4 TCF of probable and potential reserves from Colombian onshore and offshore basins under exploration (Tayrona, Sinu, Tumaco, and Choco areas). Unconventional gas sources such as coalbed methane could yield preliminary reserves of 7.5 TCF of recoverable reserves, mostly in la Guajira and the Cesar basins. Other potential reserves point to tight shale gas (mostly in the Magdalena Medio basins), and methane hydrates found in the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean basins. 

On February 14, 2019, government officials received a report from the experts of the Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing who recommended the development of multiple unconventional hydrocarbon pilot projects, to be designed jointly with the relevant environmental and sectoral entities.  These projects would initially focus on the Cesar-Rancheria and Middle Magdalena Valley basins. Several companies have expressed interest in participating. The projects aim to develop a critical baseline of information on the basins, groundwater, seismic data, operational development, and other critical information that would assist in a more transparent development of  unconventional resources during the expected two-year timeframe. Industry belives the effort would increase government revenue during the projected lifetime of the prospects, attracting some USD 36 billion in government revenue.

Trade Events
II Cumbre de Petróleo y Gas (II Oil and Gas Summit) 
November 13-15, 2019
Agora Bogotá Convention Center
Bogotá, Colombia

Web Resources
U.S. Commercial Service Bogota contact: Norcia Ward, Commercial Assistant     
Tel: 57 1 275 2703 


Energy and Natural Gas Regulatory Commission (CREG)

Colombian Petroleum Association (ACP)

Colombian Petroleum Services Chamber (Campetrol)

Mining and Energy Planning Unit (UPME)

National Planning Department (DNP)

Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME)

U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA)