Colombian government opens public consultation period on fracking

Published by Brent Patterson on

El Colombiano reports, “The Ministry of Mines and Energy published on Thursday [December 26] the draft decree with the ‘guidelines for advancing exploration activities (…) on unconventional deposits.’”

The Minister, María Fernanda Suárez, says, “More than a year ago we convened a commission of experts and recommended doing pilot projects, then the State Council stops commercial exploitation, but allows pilots.”

Civil society responds

As noted in this Facebook post yesterday, “The Colombia Free Fracking Alliance rejects the publication today of the decree that would open the door to fracking in the country, because it should not be experimented with a technique that has been banned or suspended in various parts of the world due to impacts evidenced and demonstrated by science. Continuing with the pilots would involve putting the water, health and life of the communities that could be affected by these projects at risk.”

Furthermore, Carlos Andrés Santiago tweeted, “While thousands of us took to the streets to reject fracking in the National Strike, the government of Ivan Duque publishes today the draft decree to give free way to that nefarious technique in Colombia. This is how this government of the blind and deaf responds to citizen claims.”

Timeline

La Republica reports, “From the night of December 26, until January 20, the Government will have an open period to receive comments from all sectors.”

RCN reports that slightly differently as, “According to the Government, the document would be effective as of January 20, 2020 (in less than a month) and comments and observations will be received from the public until the 16th of the same month (4 days before its publication).”

The Ministry notes, “The National Government will hold a special meeting to listen to citizens on January 16, with the Environmental Bureau created within the framework of the Great National Conversation.”

The RCN article also highlights, “The project includes that companies must develop an institutional strengthening plan aimed at the fracking technique, no later than June 30, 2020.”

Ways to engage

RCN reports, “Comments and observations may be made through this web form.”

Similarly, El Tiempo notes, “According to [the Ministry], the observations, comments and proposals to the aforementioned draft standard must be completed by filling out a form to receive comments, which appears in the following link, https://www.minenergia.gov.co/foros?idForo=24162581 The form must be sent keeping the editable format to the email pciudadana@minenergia.gov.co, until next Monday, January 20, 2020.”

Eligibility for pilot projects

W Radio adds, “[The Minister] said that ‘for a company to participate in these projects, it needs to have been part of the blocks that the National Hydrocarbons Agency assigned at the time, and that they have some kind of concession with this entity today. This does not mean that they have permission, but instead acquired a right.’”

This eligibility standard would likely include Toronto-based Frontera Energy, and Calgary-based Parex Resources Inc., Gran Tierra Energy Inc. and Canacol Energy Ltd.

When fracking could start

On October 18, RCN reported, “The president of Ecopetrol, Felipe Bayón, told RCN News that the company has in its schedule of operations the date of the second half of 2020 to drill the first wells of the pilot programs with the exploration system known as fracking.”

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