Ecopetrol signs MOU with ExxonMobil for fracking pilot project that involves Toronto-based Sintana Energy
On July 9, Petroguia reported: “[Colombia’s majority state-owned oil company] Ecopetrol and the US company ExxonMobil signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on the development of one of the pilot fracking projects in the municipality of Puerto Wilches, department of Santander…”
The article adds: “…[This] will allow them to be ready for October 2020, the date on which the National Hydrocarbons Agency plans to open calls for pilot plans for the development of unconventional deposits.”
On May 1, Colombia Informa reported on the fracking pilot projects that are expected to begin in Colombia in 2021.
That article notes that a potential site is the VMM-37 block:
“In the VMM-37 block granted to the North American company ExxonMobil, in Puerto Wilches (Santander), it would contemplate the cutting of 109 hectares of forest, the capture of an average of more than six daily pools of water in the Magdalena and Sogamoso rivers, and a polygon area comparable to 21,655 soccer fields, which will impact five townships.”
The infographic (above) produced by la Corporación Podion indicates that a Canadian company holds a 30 per cent share in the VMM-37 block.
A May 2018 media release from Toronto-based Sintana Energy notes: “The Company’s private participation interests in Colombia, held by Patriot Energy Sucursal Colombia (‘Patriot’), wholly owned by Sintana include 100% of the conventional and 30% of the unconventional resource in the 43,158 acre VMM-37 Block which is located in the Middle Magdalena Basin.”
Fracking is a controversial issue in Colombia.
In February 2019, a poll found that more than 90 per cent of Colombians are opposed to fracking in their country. The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) has also stated its rejection of fracking. And the National Strike Committee, which includes the Central Union of Workers, has listed opposition to fracking as one of its demands.
Alexander Rustler, a researcher at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, has commented: “Fracking’s expansion risks aggravating tensions, potentially causing demonstrations against oil and gas drilling to metamorphose into violent clashes between communities and companies.”
Peace Brigades International accompanies several Colombian human rights organizations that are opposed to fracking.
In November 2019, PBI organized this 8-day advocacy tour in Canada with representatives from CREDHOS and the women’s legal collective CCALCP who presented their concerns about fracking at public forums and to government officials and Members of Parliament.
PBI continues to closely monitor this situation.