Colombian energy minister says fracking protocols will be ready by June 2020

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On December 3, the Colombian Minister of Energy announced at the Colombian Energy Summit in Bogota that the protocols for fracking would be ready by June 2020.

Caracol Radio reports, “Within the framework of the event, she revealed that before the end of the first half of 2020, the protocol for the execution of the fracking pilot tests will be ready. For his part, the president of Ecopetrol Felipe Bayón said that once the corresponding studies are available, the first drilling will be carried out at the end of 2020.”

El Tiempo further reports, “After analyzing the recommendations of the Commission of Experts for fracking, the Minister of Mines and Energy, María Fernanda Suárez, revealed that in the first half of 2020 it is planned to leave defined the technical protocols for the drilling of wells pilot projects of integral research using the technique of fracking, a key step for knowledge and learning of how the country should move forward on this front, based on the decisions of the State Council.”

That article adds, “According to Felipe Bayón, president of Ecopetrol, once these guidelines are defined, Ecopetrol is expected to drill this type of exploration well in the second half of 2020, for which it is already making progress on the different baselines.”

RCN Radio notes, “According to the minister, these protocols include all the information requested by the commission of experts and the purpose is to ensure that the pilot projects leave as much information as possible to make a documented decision on whether or not it is possible to develop fracking in the country.”

And Dinero explains, “The protocols include all the information requested by the commission of experts in its report delivered last year. The objective is to ensure that these pilot projects leave as much information as possible, to make a documented decision on whether it is possible to develop hydrocarbon extraction by unconventional techniques.”

This announcement about protocols comes on the eve of the third national strike in 14 days to be held on Wednesday December 4.

The Associated Press has reported, “Members of the [National Strike] steering committee said they want a greater say over any overhaul of the pension system and labour laws as well as a tax reform plan that the government recently presented to the congress. They have also called for more funding for public universities and are demanding a ban on fracking, a method for drilling oil which [Colombian president Ivan] Duque has said he is open to.”

Colombia Reports has highlighted that “more than 90% of Colombians are against fracking in Colombia, according to a poll taken [on February 18].” The Union of Workers of the Petroleum Industry (USO) has now also voted against fracking. And The Bogota Post has reported, “It is Colombia’s campesinos, who have already borne the brunt of a long conflict, who are likely to be hit hardest [by climate change].”

This past November, Peace Brigades International supported a cross-country speaking tour in Canada featuring human rights defenders Julia Figueroa and Andrea Nocove from CCALCP and Ivan Madero from CREDHOS.

They expressed their opposition to fracking, the fact that it worsens climate change, their concerns that it will further put at risk communities and land defenders in Colombia, and noted that Canadian companies are likely to be involved in fracking.

Photo via the Embassy of Panama in Colombia website.

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