Calgary-based Gran Tierra’s oil production dramatically increases in the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Image from Gran Tierra Energy promotional video for the Acordionero field.

On April 29, Peace Brigades International in collaboration with CREDHOS and Above Ground hosted a webinar on extractivism in the Magdalena Medio region and the threats experienced by environmental defenders challenging that agenda.

The video of that webinar (mostly in Spanish) can be seen here.

Calgary-based Gran Tierra Energy Inc. operates the Acordionero oil field, located near San Martín, Cesar in the Middle Magdalena Valley, which represented 49 per cent of the company’s total production in 2020.

On May 2, Inversiones Apartado wrote in Seeking Alpha: “Gran Tierra is focused on diversifying its operations having acquired oil acreage in Colombia’s Llanos, Middle Magdalena Valley and Putumayo Basins. That focus on diversification helps to reduce much of the risk initially associated with the driller’s earlier focus on the Putumayo Basin.”

The article adds that Gran Tierra “has invested heavily” in the Acordionero field: “Acordionero’s first quarter 2021 oil production expanded by an impressive 30% compared to the previous quarter to be 12,681 barrels daily, its highest level for four quarters.”

When Gran Tierra acquired the Acordionero field in August 2016, its production was 4,730 bopd (barrels of oil per day).

Earlier this year, Bnamericas reported: “Gran Tierra will outlay up to 80% of its planned US$120-150mn 2021 capital budget by June as it steps up drilling at its Acordionero project.”

That article further notes Gran Tierra wants to further increase its production at Acordionero by an additional 2,500 barrels per day.

Beyond Compliance

Gran Tierra has highlighted its commitment to Beyond Compliance.

The company explains: “Beyond Compliance means that whenever possible Gran Tierra voluntarily goes beyond what is legally required to care for the environment and undertake respectful engagement with local communities.”

Farmers blockade Gran Tierra in Putumayo

That said, the Seeking Alpha article notes community resistance to Gran Tierra in Putumayo: “Community blockades in 2019 and 2020 impacted Gran Tierra’s operations in the Putumayo Basin taking around 4,000 barrels per day offline.”

In September 2020, Grand Tierra also noted that production at its Cohembi field in the Suroriente Block had restarted after it was “previously shut-in due to local farmer blockades”.

Magdalena Medio

As Gran Tierra expands its production in the Magdalena Medio region, we take note of the broader situation there.

Several entities including the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, América Latina and Amnesty International have issued statements of concern about the threats faced by environmental defenders in the Magdalena Medio region.

The defenders who have been threatened are members of CREDHOS, FEDEPESAN, CRY-GEAM, AguaWil and the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking.

PBI-Canada continues to keep watch and support the calls for security guarantees for environmental defenders in Colombia.

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