Toronto-based Sintana Energy Inc. likely to be awarded fracking pilot project contract in Colombia on November 25

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: Sunset over the Magdalena River in Puerto Wilches. Image by Pilar Mejía for Semana.

The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) is scheduled to award up to four pilot exploration projects for fracking on November 25.

On November 5, Argus Media reported: “So far only three companies have been pre-qualified to participate: Colombia’s state-controlled Ecopetrol, ExxonMobil and coal mining company Drummond. …Two other foreign companies that had been expected to participate, Canadian gas producer Canacol [which is based in Calgary] and US independent ConocoPhillips, are still on the sidelines for now.”

The article further highlights that ExxonMobil is the key player to watch in this.

It then notes: “The [VMM37] block is operated by ExxonMobil with a 70pc stake. The remaining 30pc belongs to Patriot Energy, a subsidiary of Canada’s Sintana Energy. While a pilot project would focus on exploring for crude in the block’s unconventional formations, future production would likely include associated gas as well.”

This May 2019 Sintana Energy Inc. document further confirms that Sintana’s wholly-owned subsidiary Patriot Energy has an agreement with ExxonMobil for the exploration and development of unconventional resources in the VMM-37 block.

And this July 2020 article in Petroguia notes: “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.”

There are still unknowns in this process.

As recently as November 2, Econo Journal reported: “Private oil companies, including ConocoPhillips, Drummond and [Calgary-based] Parex Resources, are also believed to have developed and submitted plans for pilot fracking projects in Colombia.”

More should be known about a week from now.

Dinero reports: “According to the ANH [National Hydrocarbons Agency], on November 24 the final order of eligibility will be announced and on November 25 the award of the contracts to make the pilots will be made.”

It is expected that the drilling associated with the pilot project contracts to be announced in the coming week would begin in the latter half of 2021.

In November 2019, PBI-Canada and PBI-Colombia worked together to facilitate an advocacy tour in Canada with representatives from accompanied organizations CCALCP and CREDHOS who raised their concerns about fracking in Colombia with Members of Parliament, officials at Global Affairs Canada, and the broader public.

We continue to monitor this situation closely.

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