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Six companies made initial best offers for Colombia oil contracts

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Six oil companies have made the initial best offers on 11 oil exploration contracts in Colombia, the government said on Friday, as a bidding process meant to revitalise its long-stagnant oil sector moved forward.

GeoPark Ltd, Hocol SA, Parex Resources Inc, Ecopetrol SA, Gran Tierra Energy Inc, Frontera Energy Corp and a consortium comprised of GeoPark and Hocol handed in the best bids, the national hydrocarbons agency said in a statement.

The consortium made the best offer for three onshore contracts, all in the country's eastern plains, the agency said.

Gran Tierra and Parex each had the best bids for two contracts, also onshore blocks, while state-run Ecopetrol put in the best bid for an offshore contract in the eastern Caribbean, it said.

Frontera, GeoPark and Hocol had the best bids for one onshore site each, it said.

The six companies and ONGC Videsh Ltd turned in 19 offers for the blocks earlier this month.

Other qualified companies, which number at least 22, will have access to the offers and can present alternative ones before June 26. The companies that put in the initial best bids will then be able to counter-offer.

The final results of the bidding are expected in mid-July.



(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Will Dunham)