Canadian oil company Frontera Energy CEO challenges Petro government’s decision on no new exploration contracts

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Frontera Energy’s Cubiro Block in San Luis de Palenque, Colombia. Photo by To hear more about Frontera Energy in Colombia, join our webinar this coming Tuesday October 11 at 2 pm ET by clicking here.

On October 7, Infobae reported:

In the last minutes, Belizza Ruiz, Deputy Minister of Energy of the Government of Gustavo Petro, announced that, as the president had promised in the campaign, no new contracts for the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons will be signed.

Ruiz with the Minister of Mines and Energy Irene Vélez Torres.

Given this, the president of Frontera Energy, Orlando Cabrales, told Deputy Minister Ruiz, as quoted in Semana, that “there must be more natural gas exploration.”

He also asked “why don’t we concentrate on getting what we have and have discovered?”, alluding to the announcement by the president of Ecopetrol about great discoveries in the Caribbean.

And he concluded by saying “If we want to guarantee energy security, we have to go beyond what was contracted”.

Frontera Energy CEO Orlando Cabrales.

To which the deputy minister replied that it is a myth that we have a lot of gas and [urged] the sector to be more honest with its projections, in which the social and environmental impacts of gas production must be taken into account.

Gabriel de Alba, Chairman of the Frontera Energy Board of Directors (and co-chairman of the board of directors of the Montreal-based entertainment company Cirque du Soleil, the largest contemporary circus producer in the world).

Notably, of the 69 new exploration blocks awarded in Colombia between 2019 and 2021 by the previous Duque government, at least 39 went to Canadian companies: Parex Resources (26), Canacol Energy Ltd. (5), Gran Tierra Energy (4), and Frontera Energy (4).

Cabrales has also told Semana: “I think the Duque Government’s approach with scientific [fracking] pilots to obtain supported information is the right one. I don’t think it’s convenient to deny us that opportunity.”

Mongabay Latam also recently reported that there have been 2,133 oil incidents and spills in Colombia from 2015 to June 2022. At least 92 of those incidents have been linked to Canadian companies: Frontera Energy and its former name Pacific Rubiales (56), Gran Tierra (26) and Parex Resources (10).

Mongabay notes that one of the high-severity events during the seven year period related to the Pacific Rubiales company in Puerto Gaitán, Meta. It details: “In the Pacific Rubiales incidents there were more than 2800 barrels of raw water that affected the soil, water and flora, in particular a body of water tributary to Caño Ivoto.”


This coming Tuesday October 11 at 2 pm ET, we will be holding a webinar focused on the experience of the community of San Luis de Palenque, Colombia with Frontera Energy.

Eight social leaders who had been protesting against Frontera were arrested in a pre-dawn raid involving a Black Hawk military helicopter landing on their farmyards.

That lead UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst to express his concern about “the apparent connection between Frontera Energy, the army’s 16th brigade and the Attorney General’s Support Office in this criminalization.”

To join this webinar, click here.

Our meeting with the community, including criminalized social leaders, in San Luis de Palenque, July 1, 2022.

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