Cacerolazo against fracking pilot projects to take place in Puerto Wilches, Colombia on February 11

Published by Brent Patterson on

On February 9, Caracol Bucaramanga tweeted: “Environmentalists from Magdalena Medio are calling for a cacerolazo after Ecopetrol’s announcement of the beginning of socialization with the communities about the Kalé fracking pilot.”

A cacerolazo is a form of popular protest that involves people banging pots and pans to draw attention to a concern.

Caracol Radio has also reported: “This Thursday [February 11] the dialogues with the communities will be held in Puerto Wilches in the company of several ministers. This is the formal start of the pilot project.”

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.

The ANH has set a second-round deadline of March 8 for companies to submit proposals. Three more contracts are expected to be awarded on March 30.

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 also situated near Puerto Wilches.

Petroguia has reported: “[Fracking this block could involve] 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.”

Late last year, 18 social and environmental defenders in the Middle Magdalena region were threatened by a paramilitary group called the Black Eagles. Six of those threatened are members of the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking.

PBI-Canada continues to be concerned about the increased threats that will be faced by environmental human rights defenders as contracts are awarded and the fracking pilot projects begin to be implemented later this year.

In November 2019, PBI-Canada and PBI-Colombia collaborated on an advocacy tour in Canada featuring Julia Figueroa and Andrea Nocove from the Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers’ Collective (CCALCP) and Ivan Madero from the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) who highlighted their concerns about fracking in Colombia.


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