Challenges and opportunities for the development of shale resources in Colombia
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After the success of shale gas development in the United States, countries around the world are looking within their own territories for the possibility of replicating the U.S successes in order to achieve financial and/or energy security objectives. Such enterprise has shown to be not as easy as it might have been perceived to be. Some countries like Argentina, China and Poland, where large reserves of shale resources have been identified, have struggled to obtain beneficial results from their shale operations, with the result that even the more optimistic operators are now showing more caution and are reviewing everything before making any commitments to operate in countries with identified shale resources. Colombia, a country with strong oil and gas roots in its economic history, is actively attempting to attract operators to explore and produce their shale resources. If successful, these efforts have the potential to bring increased foreign investment to the country, while also improving Colombia’s oil and gas reserves, which have been declining over the last five years. This thesis, will address the challenges and opportunities of the development of shale resources in Colombia that operators will face by reviewing several critical aspects of the process. This thesis begins with a discussion of the geology of shale resources in Colombia, followed, first, by a review and analysis of the fiscal and contractual regime established in Colombia for the oil and gas industry, then, second, a risk analysis of possible Colombian shale operations, then third, a financial analysis of a possible shale project and, finally, ends with a summary of the challenges and opportunities an operator could face based on the analysis of the previous topics.