Calgary-based Gran Tierra comments on the impact of the national strike on its oil operations in Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

Image: Gran Tierra is based in Calgary, Canada.

The Colombian non-governmental organization Temblores has reported that there have been at least 39 homicides and 2,110 cases of violence committed by members of the Public Force since the national strike began on April 28 in Colombia.

Last week, more than 130 organizations, collectives, movements and environmental platforms announced their participation in the national strike.

Their eight demands include replacing fossil fuel exploitation in the short term as an urgent measure in the face of the climate emergency and respecting free, prior and informed consent as a legal and legitimate mechanism on the fate of Indigenous territories.

It is in this context that Calgary-based Gran Tierra Energy Inc. released this statement yesterday (May 17) on the national strike.

The company highlighted:

“The protests initially did not impact the Colombian operations of Gran Tierra and other energy companies. However, in the last few days, blockades of key roads have started to cause the temporary shut-in of some oil wells and oil fields throughout Colombia and are now affecting almost all energy companies in the country.”

“Road blockades in the Putumayo Basin (the ‘Putumayo’) and the Middle Magdalena Valley Basin (the ‘MMV’) have caused Gran Tierra to temporarily reduce oil production from the Company’s operations. Though these blockades are not directed at Gran Tierra, they are currently impeding the Company’s mobilization of supplies, food, water, fuel and oil sales, all of which are necessary for operations.”

“The Company’s temporary oil production reductions comprise a combination of slowdowns of some oil wells’ production rates, the shut-in of some oil wells in certain fields and the complete shut-in of certain other fields.”

“As of May 16, 2021, Gran Tierra has shut-in production of approximately 5,250 bopd, leaving the Company’s total current production at approximately 24,350 bopd, down from a recent level prior to the national blockades of about 29,600 bopd.”

While Gran Tierra notes that the current national strike blockades are not directed against it, the company did experience community blockades in 2019 and 2020 in Putumayo. In September 2020, Grand Tierra noted that production at its Cohembi field in Putumayo had restarted after it was “previously shut-in due to local farmer blockades.”

Gran Tierra has a Beyond Compliance policy and its Human Rights Policy includes the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions. A key ILO convention is the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169). The company has indicated that it is committed to Prior Consultation with Indigenous Groups.

As of May 18, the national strike was entering its 21st day of mobilizations. The next day of a coordinated national strike has been called for May 19.

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