Colombian energy minister says Canadian company interested in fracking

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On September 17, the Magistrates from the Council of State, Colombia’s top administrative court, clarified that a moratorium on fracking that it upheld earlier in the month “does not impede the development of comprehensive investigative pilot projects.”

Following that announcement, the CEO of Colombia’s state-run oil company Ecopetrol said it would be ready to start fracking pilot projects in the second half of 2020.

Environmentalists have called for a global ban on fracking given it “torpedoes our global efforts to tackle climate change and violates basic human rights.” Moreover, a researcher with the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment has highlighted concerns that fracking could endanger the fragile peace process in Colombia.

This makes for a pivotal time in Colombia with immense implications for human rights.

Hindering a fuller understanding of the situation, there has not been a clear public statement about where the wells for those pilot projects will be drilled, which communities it will affect, or even which companies will be involved.

At this point, one can only glean information from media reports.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported, “At least five companies are interested in six fracking blocs in Colombia, and use of the technique could nearly triple the country’s reserves of crude and gas, the energy minister said.”

In that article, Colombian Mines and Energy Minister Maria Fernanda Suarez named Parex as one of the companies interested in the fracking blocs.

Parex Resources Inc. is a Calgary-based company.

In July 2017, Oscar Sampayo from the Environmental and Extractive Studies Group in Magdalena Medio noted in this interview, “What worries us is that in 2014 Parex directly entered Magdalena Medio in block VMM9. This block is located in the municipality of Simitarra in Santander. That block is destined for the development of a nonconventional deposit using fracking.”

Simitarra is located about 115 kilometres south-west of Barrancabermeja and about 200 kilometres south-west of Bucaramanga, both cities are situated in Santander Department in north-central Colombia.

Speaking tour in Canada

Julia Figueroa and Andrea Nocove from the Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers’ Collective (CCALCP) in Bucaramanga and Ivan Madero from the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) in Barrancabermeja will be visiting Canada this November to help shed more light on this situation.

They will highlight their concerns about fracking and extractivism, as well as the need to protect the climate and water, and respect Indigenous rights.

Their public forums include:

OTTAWA – Monday November 4, 6:30 pm, Amnesty International building, 312 Laurier Avenue East

VANCOUVER – Wednesday November 6, 7 pm, SFU Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings Street

NANAIMO – Friday November 8, 2 pm, Vancouver Island University, 900 Fifth Street

Along with these three public forums, Julia, Andrea and Ivan will be meeting with civil society allies in Toronto, government officials in Ottawa, as well as students, lawyers and activists at information/strategy meetings across the country.

For more information, please contact us at

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