Colombian organizations file legal action against fracking pilot projects that have been welcomed by Canadian companies

Published by Brent Patterson on

Still from video of the tutela action announcement.

On February 24, El Espectador reported: “Around 10 peasant and environmental organizations located in Puerto Wilches met this Thursday morning at the Palace of Justice, in Bogotá, to file the document with which they seek to avoid the implementation of pilot projects to give life to this practice in the country.”

That article adds: “The organizations filed a document of more than 24 pages in which they present the violation of their rights to environmental participation, access to information, due process and life and integrity. …The tutela action basically seeks to suspend the implementation of the pilot projects and environmental licensing, until measures are taken to protect the rights that, in the opinion of the organizations, are being violated.”

The El Espectador article further notes: “The peaceful mobilization actions against fracking have had as a response multiple threats and harassment that have forced several women environmental defenders to be displaced.”

Radio Nacional also reports: “In addition, the plaintiffs explain that Puerto Wilches does not have drinking water, which is why ‘running out of water is one of the concerns of the inhabitants due to the fracking pilot that will be carried out in that territory.’”

(For the Kalé pilot project, Ecopetrol says it will draw 47.7 million litres of water that it will mix with chemicals and then inject into the well during the fracking process.)

And Infobae notes: “In the document, the guardians denounce that no prior consultation was carried out, not even through virtual mechanisms for the process of awarding contracts for the Kalé and Platero ‘fracking’ projects.”

Earlier this week, PBI-Colombia tweeted: “Statement from @Credhos_Paz rejecting the fracking pilots in Puerto Wilches and the threats against leaders who reject fracking in the region. This while Colombia does not ratify the Escazú agreement and signs environmental protection agreements with the EU [European Union].”

The CREDHOS statement notes: “In a region where historically extractivism has violated the human rights of communities, the implementation of fracking does not represent an advance for the dignity of life and the environmental sustainability of the territory.”

Canadian companies welcome fracking pilot projects

At this time, we again highlight that Toronto-based Sintana Energy Ltd. welcomed the news of ExxonMobil being granted a pilot project contract for Platero/VMM-37.

In April 2021, Portafolio also reported: “The Canadian multinational Canacol announced in recent days the first exploratory results of an independent prospective evaluation of shale oil in two of its blocks (VMM-2 and VMM-3), in the Magdalena Medio basin.”

Canacol CEO Charle Gamba has also commented that the approval of the Kalé and Platero pilot projects are “positive steps towards realizing the commercial potential of the unconventional shale oil field in Colombia and specifically for the resources prospects that we have through our position in the Middle Magdalena Valley basin.”

We continue to follow this situation closely.

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