Hundreds protest against Ecopetrol fracking pilot project in Puerto Wilches, Colombia
A protest against fracking took place in the municipality of Puerto Wilches in the department of Santander in north-eastern Colombia on Sunday December 13.
The protest was organized by the Committee for the Defence of Water, Life and the Territory of Puerto Wilches (AGUAWIL) and the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking. As noted in this tweet included below, AGUAWIL is accompanied by the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS).
Blu Radio reports: “Hundreds of inhabitants of the municipality of Puerto Wilches, Santander, held a carnival march to say no to the pilot projects of integral research, or fracking, that Ecopetrol will carry out in the so-called Kalé project.”
That article adds: “Ecopetrol explained that in January it will start the environmental impact study and arrive in the rural area of the municipality to install equipment and survey the inhabitants on water quality before and after the fracking pilot project.”
Caracol Radio also notes: “The message [of Sunday’s carnival march] is clear, tell the National Government that the community will not allow a municipality that has been exploited for 60 years, to be the epicenter of the exploration of unconventional deposits, without knowing for sure the damage.”
RCN Radio further reports: “Hender Acuña, a member of the Committee for the Defense of Water, Life and the Territory of Puerto Wilches, assured that if such practices were implemented, the ecosystem would suffer irreparable impacts.”
That article adds: “This will be the first march to be done in rejection of fracking in the municipality of Puerto Wilches, where the community will continue to implement protests and legal resources to curb Ecopetrol’s intentions.”
Ecopetrol was awarded a licence on November 25 by the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) to conduct a fracking pilot project in Puerto Wilches.
Beyond Ecopetrol, it is expected that Toronto-based Sintana Energy Inc. (and its Colombian subsidiary Patriot Energy) in collaboration with ExxonMobil could also pursue a fracking pilot project in the VMM-37 block in Puerto Wilches.
BNAmericas has reported: “Colombia will award drilling rights for up to three areas in a second licensing round for unconventional pilot projects, hydrocarbons regulator ANH said. ExxonMobil and Drummond Energy withdrew their interest pending the publication of new guidelines related to evaluation terms and the appointment of a review committee. ANH did not provide details about when the second auction would take place.”
As recently as this past July, Petroguia reported: “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.”
In November 2019, Peace Brigades International hosted an advocacy tour in Canada with representatives from CREDHOS and CCALCP who highlighted their concerns about fracking. PBI continues to follow this situation closely.
Tweet from PBI-Colombia accompanied CREDHOS: “Today. We accompany the Committee for the Defense of Water, Life and the Territory of Puerto Wilches – AGUAWIL in the day of rejection of the Integrated Research Pilot project for the exploration and exploitation of unconventional deposits through the fracking technique.”