Houston American Energy Corp. (AMEX: HUSA) has given up its interest in a Colombian oil property that it once claimed held as many as 4 billion barrels of reserves.
Houston American – which was the subject of a Sharesleuth investigation in 2010 — did not receive any payment. But it added that the move released it from any claims for past, present or future capital calls related to the joint operating agreement with SK Innovation.
Houston American, SK Energy and a third partner, Gulf United Energy Corp. (Pink Sheets: GLFE), have drilled three wells on the Colombian property. All three were unsuccessful, and were plugged and abandoned.
Houston American’s shares traded for more than $20 as recently as July 2011, just before drilling began on the initial well. The company’s stock closed Tuesday at 21 cents.
Houston American had said in SEC filings and investor presentations that the CPO-4 prospect, in Colombia’s Llanos Basin, was estimated to hold anywhere from 1 billion to 4 billion barrels of recoverable reserves.
It announced in late 2011 that it encountered “strong shows of hydrocarbons” at the first well, Tamandua #1. But it later said that the well was being abandoned, in part because of damage to the formation during the drilling process.
Houston American said last April that it had received three subpoenas from the SEC as part of a formal investigation into the company. It has since disclosed that the investigation appears to be focused on claims about the resource potential of the CPO-4 prospect.
Houston American said in the announcing regarding the relinquishment of its interest in CP0-4 that it still had roughly $10 million to finance exploration activities elsewhere in Colombia.
Houston American has a 12.5 percent stake in a prospect known as Serrania. One of its partners there is Canacol Energy Ltd. (TSX Venture Exchange: CNE). Canacol acquired a 37.5 percent interest when it absorbed Shona Energy Co. last year.
The other partner at Serrania is Hupecol Operating Company LLC. Houston American has been involved with Hupecol on several earlier projects that were more successful than CPO-4.
Houston American has said that it expects the first well to be drilled at Serrania this year.