Colombian regulator says three new contracts for fracking pilot projects to be awarded on March 30

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Video: A 2-minute video in which a resident of Campo Duro (a community in Puerto Wilches, Santander) tells representatives from Colombian regulator ANH and Ecopetrol about the dangers of fracking.

UPDATE: The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) has extended the deadline for companies to submit proposals for fracking pilot projects in Colombia. The new deadline is March 8 with contracts to be awarded on March 30.

BNAmericas reports that four companies have prequalified for the second round of licencing for fracking pilot projects in Colombia: ExxonMobil, Ecopetrol, Drummond and Tecpetrol.

That article notes: “ANH [the National Hydrocarbons Agency] has said it hopes to award an additional three contracts in the second round, which will include acreage in the Cesar Ranchería and Middle Magdalena Valley basins.”

The article also notes the timeline for this second round:

February 15 – deadline for interested companies to present proposals

March 1 – a preliminary order or eligibility is to be announced

March 5 – a definitive list of eligibility is to be announced

March 8 – the new contracts for the fracking pilot projects are to be announced.

The first licence for a fracking pilot project was awarded by the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) on November 25, 2020 to the Colombian state-owned oil company Ecopetrol for its Kalé project near Puerto Wilches, Santander.

On January 27, the Colombian Minister of Mines and Energy, Diego Mesa, said that two more contracts for fracking pilot projects will be signed in the coming weeks.

The BNAmericas article suggests it will be three contracts.

One of those contracts could go to ExxonMobil in partnership with Toronto-based Sintana Energy Inc. (and its Colombian subsidiary Patriot Energy) that would likely involve the VMM-37 block in Puerto Wilches, Santander.

On January 29, United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment David Boyd called on Colombia to prohibit fracking.

Boyd stated: “In light of its obligations under constitutional, international, human rights and environmental law, fossil fuels must be replaced by renewable energies. I respectfully maintain that the government of Colombia must pass a law to prohibit fracking.”

Environmentalists have also called for a global ban on fracking given it “torpedoes our global efforts to tackle climate change and violates basic human rights.”

It has been estimated that the commercial development of fracking could release 12 billion barrels of oil and 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

PBI continues to follow this situation in Colombia.

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