Bidding process schedule


The Colombian Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) recently released its terms of reference(1) for the award of oil and gas areas in 2012. The award procedure is based on the public procurement rules, but has its own bidding terms and conditions. This year the ANH has modified several of its traditional terms, thus establishing stricter conditions for participation in the sector.

Participation by foreign parties is guaranteed through the principle of equal treatment, which prevails in the Colombian legal system.


According to the ANH, participants must meet the following criteria.

Legal capacity
The operator must prove legal capacity of five years, while a member of a joint venture must prove legal capacity of one year.

Applicants must provide accurate and truthful information and must authorise the ANH to verify the information submitted for participating in the bid round at any time. Applicants must also execute undertakings on anti-corruption and anti-money laundering, as well as against terrorist financing and other criminal activities. The ANH reserves the right to check the background of corporations and their partners, except those listed on stock exchanges or in databases such as World Check and World Compliance.

Nationals and foreign corporations may participate either individually or collectively through an existing joint venture scheme (ie, a consortium, a temporary union or a promise to incorporate a future business entity).

The corporate purpose of applicants must include the exploration and production of hydrocarbons.

Applicants must also prove average equity over the past three years for each oil and gas area, as follows:

  • Type 1 – $6 million;
  • Type 2 (except offshore and non-conventional) – $20 million; and
  • Type 3 (including offshore and non-conventional – $200 million.

Colombian entities must prove such figures by duly audited financial statements, while foreign business entities must prove such figures through duly audited financial statements, with certificates, under the International Financial Reporting Standards or the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

Economic and financial capacity
Corporations included in the "Energy Intelligence Top 100: Ranking the World's Top Oil Companies" by Petroleum Intelligence Weekly as 'upstream', and those able to endorse a risk qualification equal to or higher than those mentioned below, will qualify automatically, although they must still submit their financial information.

The relevant risk-qualifying agency grades are:

  • Standard & Poor‟s – BBB;
  • Moody's – Baa; and
  • Fitch Ratings – BBB.

Technical and operational capacity
Applicants must have drilled at least two wells during the past three years. The information about reserves should be endorsed under the Society of Petroleum Engineers Petroleum Resources Management System by an independent auditor, or by the competent authority in each country.

Corporations included in the "Energy Intelligence Top 100: Ranking the World's Top Oil Companies" by Petroleum Intelligence Weekly as 'upstream' will qualify automatically.

Environmental capacity
The applicant must provide documents to endorse an environmental management system and the measures that it has taken to mitigate the impact on natural resources and the environment, based on:

  • ISO14001 or an equivalent certification; or
  • a document that endorses the environmental management system of the participant, implemented or signed in execution by the legal representative and an independent auditor.

In any case, the participant or the operator of a joint venture must obtain an environmental certificate during the first three years of executing the contract.

Corporate social responsibility
The applicant must submit documents endorsing its and any other participants' policies on social responsibility based on:

  • ISO26000 or an equivalent certification; or
  • a document that endorses the implementation of social responsibility programmes, signed by the legal representative and an independent auditor.

Bidding process schedule

According to the ANH's schedule, the formal opening and publication of definitive terms of reference and contracts will take place on April 23 2012. The complete schedule is set out below.



Submission of documents for qualification processes

April 23 2012 to June 15 2012

Study documents and publishing preliminary list

Until July 12 2012

Comments on the preliminary bidder list

Until July 19 2012

Publication of definitive bidder list

August 3 2012

Submission of proposals, bid guarantees and public opening act

October 17 2012

Preliminary list of proposals

October 18 2012

Comments on the preliminary list

Until October 26 2012

Awarding of areas

November 2012

Signing of contracts

November and December 2012

The government is organising roadshows in the main cities around the world in order to promote the bid round.

The released terms of reference show that ANH is taking a stricter approach regarding the applicants' background and capacity and a more conservative position towards the assignment of rights deriving from exploration and procduction contracts.

For further information on this topic please contact Gabriela Mancero Bucheli at Peña Mancero by telephone (+57 1 640 1355) or email ([email protected]).


(1) Available at