BOGOTA – Colombia’s National Hydrocarbons Agency, or ANH, has canceled three exploration and production contracts that had been awarded in 2012 to Anglo-Australian consortium Optima-Range, which also must pay $54 million.
Optima Oil Corporation and Range Resources Limited presented “inauthentic letters of credit” as proof of their ability to comply with their contractual obligations, the regulator said in a statement explaining its decision.
The companies also were ordered to pay the ANH $54 million for their failure to live up to their oil exploration commitments.
The consortium was awarded E&P contracts for the Putumayo-5, Middle Magdalena Valley-7 and Upper Magdalena Valley-1 areas in a November 2012 auction.
The regulator said the companies also had been barred from signing future contracts with the Colombian government for five years.
“Colombia is a partner of operators that employ the best practices and comply” with their obligations, “but it will bring the full weight of the law to bear on those that do not,” Mines and Energy Minister Tomas Gonzalez Estrada said.
The ANH’s president, Mauricio De La Mora, said for his part that the punishment proved his agency “strictly and rigorously manages the resources of all Colombians” and was capable of ensuring that the country “has the best partners.”