Protests against fracking to take place this week in Bogotá and Puerto Wilches

Published by Brent Patterson on

There will be a protest against fracking outside the headquarters of the state-owned petroleum company Ecopetrol on Friday December 11 in Bogota.

There will then be a forum and a carnival march against fracking on Saturday December 12 and Sunday December 13 in Puerto Wilches.

The newspaper El Espectador has reported: “On November 25 and 27, Ecopetrol presented to the municipal councils of Puerto Wilches and Barrancabermeja (Santander) the proposal of the PPII [comprehensive research pilot projects] called Kalé, which it intends to execute in Puerto Wilches.”

Ecopetrol will be conducting a fracking “research project” called Kalé-1 in the village of Kilómetro 8 on a property known as La Belleza in the municipality of Puerto Wilches in the department of Santander in the Middle Magdalena Valley.

The drilling is expected to begin in the second half of 2021.

Óscar Sampayo has stated: “The Kalé project consists of a well that is going to fracture and an injector well is going to be made, that is, these return fluids are going to be injected and they are going to generate a catchment in the Magdalena River, but what is most worrying is that they capture a groundwater well.”

Sampayo adds: “It is very sad news for Santander and the country, and what surprises us the most is that when [the National Hydrocarbons Agency] presented it, we had no idea, we were not consulted or the opinions of the inhabitants were taken into account, this is because it is, it is a decision already taken.”

Last month, Infobae reported: “18 social and environmental leaders of the Middle Magdalena were threatened with death through a pamphlet, signed by a paramilitary structure that called the ‘Black Eagles, Middle Magdalena Block’.”

Six of those threatened are members of the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking, including Óscar Sampayo.

CREDHOS president Ivan Madero has stated: “[There are] actors interested in intimidating and putting at risk the lives of public officials, environmental leaders and legal professionals who have demonstrated against environmental effects and against fracking.”

And earlier this week, the CSPP warned of a death threat against environmental defender Nini Johana Cárdenas, who is also an opponent of fracking and a member of the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking. She is based in El Carmen de Chucurí, which is located about 100 kilometres south of Puerto Wilches.

Beyond Ecopetrol, it is expected that Toronto-based Sintana Energy Inc. in collaboration with ExxonMobil will also pursue a fracking pilot project in the VMM-37 block in Puerto Wilches in the Middle Magdalena Valley.

In November 2019, Peace Brigades International hosted an advocacy tour in Canada with representatives from Barrancabermeja-based CREDHOS and Bucaramanga-based CCALCP speaking against fracking. Both Barrancabermeja and Bucaramanga are located in Santander and within proximity of Puerto Wilches.

PBI accompanies CREDHOS, CCALCP and the CSPP.

To watch a short video by Oscar Sampayo on this situation, please click here.

Categories: News Updates


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