Columbian Gas Field Discovery Hardly Has Policy's Critics Gushing

[FREE REGISTRATION REQUIRED] An announcement that Colombia has found more oil is seen by some as the latest sign of the industry's precipitous decline.

Published: 26-Aug-2004

With the nation's proven oil reserves continuing to fall, investment and exploration sagging and sabotage from a 40-year old civil war enduring, the Colombian government and its oil company, Ecopetrol, have been desperate to ballyhoo any find, small though it may be.

''Ecopetrol bet and won,'' the Ministry of Mines and Energy loudly proclaimed Monday after Ecopetrol said it had found 15 million barrels of crude and a small deposit of natural gas at a northwest oil field known as Gibraltar.

But what exactly had it won? Ecopetrol has spent $30 million exploring Gibraltar and just last year declared that the field held 200 million barrels. Now it's promising that this is only the beginning. Skeptics abound.

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