Canadian company hopes to commercially develop fracking prospect near Puerto Wilches, Colombia “in the mid to long-term”

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: CREDHOS president Ivan Madero at a protest against fracking in 2021.

On March 18 during the Q4 (fourth quarter) earnings conference call for Calgary-based Canacol Energy Ltd., Chief Executive Officer Charle Gamba responded to questions from Chen Lin from Lin Asset Management about fracking in Colombia.

LIN: “You have some shale value opportunity if I remember correctly. Do you have any plan for this year or the next in the near-term?”

GAMBA: “Yes, you are quite correct. We do hold interest in two non-conventional shale blocks basically with ConocoPhillips. And we’re really just waiting to see the results of the drilling pilots that Exxon and Ecopetrol are going to conduct next year to test the commercial viability of that resource. So, we’re sort of just sitting and waiting on those results to come out. And if they are successful, hopefully, that’s something we could develop in the mid to long-term, but no plans this year or next.”

LIN: “Do you know when their results will come up?”

GAMBA: “They are planning to execute the horizontal fracking pilots next year. That’s Ecopetrol with their partners Exxon on their two pilots that they are going to be executing very close to our blocks with ConocoPhillips. So, I expect that we should see results from those probably second half of next year.”

The full transcript of the Q4 call can be read here.

In April 2021, Gamba commented that the two pilots 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.”

Canacol holds a 20 per cent stake in the VMM-2/Plata and VMM-3/Piranga projects with ConcoPhillips holding the remaining stake.

The two pilots

In November 2020, Colombia’s national oil company was awarded approval for the Kale project near the municipality of Puerto Wilches.

Then in April 2021, ExxonMobil was awarded the contract for the Platero project, also near Puerto Wilches. That block is 70 per cent control by Exxon as the operator, with the remaining 30 per cent held by Toronto-based Sintana Energy.

Fracking opponents threatened

Environmental defenders in the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia continue to be threatened for their opposition to fracking.

Last month, Carolina Agón and Ramón Abril were named in pamphlets circulated by paramilitary groups. Carolina and Ramón were told to leave the area or face the consequences. Ten days later the home of Yuvelis Natalia Morales was broken into.

Carolina is a member of CREDHOS, Ramón is a Board member of CREDHOS, and Yuvelis is with a youth group accompanied by CREDHOS.

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project accompanies the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS).

We continue to follow this situation closely.

Cordatec tweet: “Thanks for the information, the two Canacol fracking blocks are located in our municipality, San Martín, Cesar.”

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