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Talisman announces new oil find in Colombia

Talisman Energy Inc. chief executive Hal Kvisle is photographed on April 11, 2013. Talisman has declared a chunk of its operations in Colombia is commercially viable.

Chris Bolin/The Globe and Mail

Talisman Energy Inc., which is under pressure from a major activist investor, has declared a chunk of its operations in Colombia is commercially viable.

The Monday announcement comes just one week after two representatives from New York's Icahn Enterprises LP joined Talisman's board. Carl Icahn leads that firm, and is pushing the company to "unlock value" for shareholders.

Talisman had launched a plan to clean up the struggling oil and natural gas company before Mr. Icahn amassed his 7-per-cent stake in the company. Hal Kvisle, who took over as chief executive in September, 2012, leads the energy firm and had previously declared Colombia one of Talisman's key areas.

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Colombian state-owned oil company Ecopetrol and Talisman said they had discovered an estimated 1.3 billion barrels of oil in southeastern Colombia and that about a tenth of it was likely to be recoverable. The zone is known as the Akacías field.

"This milestone reflects a material step towards realizing the potential of our Colombian business and will bring significant benefits to Colombia," Mr. Kvisle said in the statement.

Ecopetrol controls 55 per cent of the project and serves as its operator. Talisman has dibs on the remaining 45 per cent. The companies hope to reach output of 25,000 barrels per day by 2015, up from around 5,500 barrels now, and 50,000 barrels by 2020.

Mr. Kvisle, who took over as CEO after investors suffered for years under John Manzoni's leadership, said he will retire when he is done restructuring Talisman. He expects to wrap up this effort sometime in 2014.

Mr. Icahn has not publically said what specific actions he wants Talisman to take in order to more quickly satisfy shareholders.

With files from Reuters

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About the Author

Carrie Tait joined the Globe in January, 2011, mainly reporting on energy from the Calgary bureau. Previously, she spent six years working for the National Post in both Calgary and Toronto. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario and a bachelor’s degree in political studies from the University of Saskatchewan. More

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