Colombians concerned about fracking pilot projects that could involve Canadian companies

Published by Brent Patterson on

On March 21, El Tiempo reported, “While the Government and some experts agree on the need to carry out comprehensive research pilot projects (PPII) to have scientific information on the impact of ‘fracking’ in Colombia, in the Nueva Planta district, El Centro district, in Barrancabermeja, María Jaramillo refuses to let her community be the epicenter of an experiment.”

Jaramillo says, “If they have not given us an answer to what we have suffered with conventional deposits, what are we going to face with unconventional ones? From Bogotá everything looks beautiful but living in contaminated territory is not.”

The article continues, “In a tour that EL TIEMPO made through some sidewalks and municipalities of the Middle Magdalena Valley in the departments of Cesar, Antioquia and Santander, many communities that have lived by the promise of oil are opposed to continuing to see their regions as an oil pantry.”

“They are also suspicious of the pilot fracking projects that according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy would be carried out in this region.”

“Those who have been against ‘fracking’ and implementing the pilots, such as the Colombia Free Fracking Alliance, say that it is not necessary to sacrifice territories and communities to know what is already known in other countries.”

“Likewise, the Alliance denounced that the ‘fracking’ pilots do not have the social license that the commission of experts recommended to the Government. ‘The Government intends to impose the pilots above our will by turning a deaf ear to the opposition of the communities that defend the territory’, said Amarilys Llanos, a member of the Alliance.”

That El Tiempo article concludes, “Regaining the trust of communities that have been treated like the stone in the shoe for years will not be easy.”

Canadian companies and fracking

As noted in more detail in this article, concerns have been expressed about the Calgary-based companies Canacol Energy and Parex Resources being involved in these pilot projects. Toronto-based Frontera Energy also co-owns a 236,000 barrel per day pipeline from the Magdalena Medio region to Coveñas on the Caribbean coast that could “move increased crude output” if fracking is approved beyond the pilot projects.

PBI accompaniment

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project accompanies the women’s legal collective CCALCP and the human rights organization CREDHOS.

PBI-Canada helped host a visit by representatives of those organizations in November 2019. Both CCALCP and CREDHOS highlighted their concerns to Members of Parliament and government officials about the impact of fracking on human rights.

El Tiempo photo: “Those who live in the village of El Dique, municipality of Yondó, Antioquia, must buy water to consume; those who do not have the money use the water from this pipe.” Photo by Tatiana Rojas Hernández.

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