Oil companies including Gran Tierra Energy, Frontera and GeoPark have won bids to develop seven little-explored blocks with potentially high reserves in Ecuador, the country’s energy ministry said April 10.

The so-called Intracampos blocks contain some 854 million barrels of oil and will require more than $1 billion in investment, the government says.

Canada’s Gran Tierra won contracts for the Chanangue, Charapa and Iguana blocks, the ministry said in a statement, while a consortium formed by Canada’s Frontera and Chile’s GeoPark will operate the Perico and Espejo blocks.

Ecuador’s Petrolamerec won the bidding for the Araza Este and Sahino blocks, the statement added.

The development of the blocks will “require an investment of some $1.17 billion and will allow an estimated peak production of 18,000 barrels per day in 2024,” the statement said.

The ministry did not say how much of the blocks’ production would belong to Ecuador, but at the time the bids were submitted it said most included provisions for the country to receive some 60% of production.

The contracts will be signed in May, the ministry said.

Ecuador is seeking foreign investment in a bid to increase its crude output as it confronts a high fiscal deficit and large foreign debt.