BOGOTA - Colombia, South America's third-largest oil producer, is aiming to boost its exploration activities in a sector that is increasingly vital to its economy.
The country has crossed the threshold of one million barrels per day, but still lags far behind regional oil powerhouses Venezuela and Brazil in terms of reserves.
Colombia therefore has to focus on new technologies, offshore development and unconventional oil, experts told AFP on the sidelines of a forum in Bogota.
"We must keep up exploration activity in all sectors in order to preserve reserves for the long term," said German Arce, president of the National Hydrocarbons Agency in Colombia, where investment in the sector reached $5.5 billion last year.
"We have found new resources but we haven't taken a big step forward. However, as long as we keep up exploration activity, the possibility of finding new reserves grows," he said.
According to Arce, the development of deep-water offshore oil exploration and unconventional oil are the major challenges for Colombia in the next few years.
For offshore development, drilling is critical, Arce said.
"Without that, the next phase will be impossible, especially keeping in mind that we are competing with highly developed areas like the Gulf of Mexico," he said.