CEO of Calgary-based Canacol Energy Ltd. confirms interest in fracking in Magdalena Medio, Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Vanguardia.

On September 15, La Republica published an interview with Charle Gamba, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Calgary-based Canacol Energy Ltd.

Gamba is asked if Canacol will participate in the fracking pilot projects in Colombia.

He responded: “Yes, we have two unconventional oil blocks that we have been located in Magdalena Medio for eight years to pilot fracking. We are awaiting the regulatory framework, but we hope to run these pilots in the next two years.”

This feature article about fracking in Colombia published by Semana Sostenible of Colombia and Mongabay Latam has noted:

“Cesar-Ranchería Basin, where at least one of the pilot studies would be conducted, contains Block VMM-2 and Block VMM-3, which are owned by ConocoPhillips and Calgary-based Canacol Energy. Activity in these blocks would interfere with four municipalities in the department of Cesar (San Martín, Aguachica, Río de Oro and Gamarra) and one municipality in the department of Santander (Puerto Wilches).”

Radio Nacional de Colombia has previously reported: “Blockades, demonstrations and even threats have surrounded the fracking controversy in [San Martin, Cesar]. …Environmentalists and a large part of the community of San Martín oppose its implementation due to the harmful effects it could have on the environment and health.”

This week, Valora Analitik further reported: “Gamba warned that his two non-conventional oilfields projects could be stopped because the Government of Colombia had offered a 40% discount on oil royalties through Law 530 of 2012. However, he said that this law (530 of 2012) ‘fell’ and that discount was without effect, which would affect the performance of the fracking projects that it has in association with the multinational ConocoPhillips.”

Earlier this month, BN Americas reported that a plenary session of the upper house voted to remove an amendment to a royalties bill that would have lowered the “fiscal burden” on developers exploring fracking projects by 40 per cent.

The Valora article also notes: “If the projects are given free rein, Canacol estimates that it will be able to start the fracking pilots in about two years.”

On a recent webinar organized by Common Frontiers, the Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine (CDHAL) and Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie (PASC), Sonia Lopez from the Joel Sierra Foundation for Human Rights commented:

“We need to build a common front to resist fracking because we know there will be social mobilizations against those pilot projects and that those communities are going to be repressed.”

Peace Brigades International accompanies defenders in Colombia opposed to fracking and continues to monitor this situation very closely.

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