Colombia hopes to increase its oil reserves by 1 billion barrels by auctioning 20 possible production areas as part of its push to bolster the oil sector, the government said Feb. 21.

Colombia last had an auction in 2014. The government held off recent bidding rounds because of low international crude prices, repeatedly postponing an auction that had been set to take place last year.

"With the 20 blocks that we are submitting for investment consideration, we hope to discover about 1 billion barrels of oil," Luis Miguel Morelli, president of the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH), told reporters.

The government expects investment of about $600 million to explore the 18 onshore blocks and two offshore blocks that will begin to be awarded in June, Morelli said.

Colombia has proven reserves of 1.7 billion barrels, equivalent to 5.7 years of consumption, with average production of 865,000 barrels per day. About 50% is destined for domestic consumption and the rest for export.

The government has said it wants to increase reserves to at least 10 years of consumption.