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Pacific Rubiales Energy Gets Water License for Colombian Oil Field

BOGOTA, Colombia

Canada-based oil and gas producer Pacific Rubiales Energy Corporation has won a significant water-injection license for its Rubiales asset, Colombia’s largest producing oilfield. The announcement was made on August 6 as the leading point of an update on the Canadian company’s operating activities.

Pacific Rubiales has permission to increase water injection by an additional million barrels per day by the end of the year, allowing for growth in oil production.

"Receiving the license for additional water injection is significant to the company because it will allow us to increase oil production in the Rubiales field to a target level of approximately 220,000 barrels per day gross total field production by the end of this year, increasing from the 210,159 barrels per day gross total field production (70,495 barrels per day net production after royalties) during the first quarter of the year,” said CEO Ronald Pantin.

“The necessary water injection facilities have already been built, which will allow us to increase oil production relatively quickly,” Pantin said.

The company said it would also establish an irrigation project to dispose of increasing quantities of water from its Rubiales and Quifa heavy oil fields in the Llanos Basin. As part of the project, water resulting from the separation process will be put through reverse osmosis facilities and then used in agro-forestry, rather than being re-injected.

The company announced that it hoped to have the project running in the final quarter of this year. In addition to bringing down the cost of handling “incrementally produced water,” Pacific Rubiales said the project would “bring shared value to local communities, creating agriculture-related jobs and sustainable development in these areas”.

Industry figures have criticized the Colombian environmental authority -- the Autoridad Nacional de Licencias Ambientales (ANLA) -- because they state it has not been equipped to keep up with the demands of rapidly growing oil industry.

The slow response of the ANLA has been blamed for allowing a backlog of applications to build up and in turn acting as a drag on development of the industry.

Pantin, however, cited the agency’s efforts "to improve and streamline the licencing process including the new resolution of July 31, 2013 ratifying an expedited process to allow minor changes to existing environmental licences.”

“We look forward to working with them (ANLA) to obtain the necessary license required for the further exploration and development of the Company's CPE-6 Block, southwest of the Rubiales field,” he added.