ExxonMobil applies for Platero fracking project in the Magdalena Medio region, few details publicly available

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On March 17, El Espectador reported: “The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) reported that ExxonMobil submitted a proposal to carry out a research project called ‘Platero’, which would be developed in the sedimentary basin Valle Medio del Magdalena and consists of a pilot of the technique commonly known as ‘fracking’.”

Reuters adds: “ExxonMobil confirmed in an email it had submitted a proposal to the ANH, but did not elaborate.”

As such, there is little information in the media about the proposal.

It’s not clear if ‘Platero’ refers to the VMM-37 block held by ExxonMobil near Puerto Wilches in the Magdalena Medio region. If so, 30 per cent of that holding is owned by Patriot Energy Sucursal Colombia, a subsidiary of Toronto-based Sintana Energy.

What we do know is that, according to a previously published schedule, the ANH will be awarding a second round of fracking pilot projects on Thursday April 8.

It also appears that the ExxonMobil Platero proposal is the only fracking pilot project now on the table other than the first round contract already awarded to Ecopetrol for its Kale project near Puerto Wilches. Infobae notes: “There they were also offering the multinationals Drummond, Tecpetrol and ConocoPhillips, which in the end gave up the process.”

This suggests that ExxonMobil is likely to be awarded a contract for its Platero project on April 8, but this cannot be confirmed from what is publicly available at this point.

This situation appears contrary to the principles of the Escazú Agreement which is intended to ensure greater community participation and access to information regarding projects that would have an environmental impact.

Colombia has signed the Escazú Agreement, but not ratified it.

Peace Brigades International-Canada is following fracking in Colombia in relation to the threats being received by environmental defenders opposed to fracking; the impact of fracking on the human right to water; and in the broader context of climate breakdown as a violation of the right to a safe environment.

We will be following the social media posts and commentary from social leaders in the Magdalena Medio region in response to the ExxonMobil project.

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