Ecopetrol president Felipe Bayón: “We have undone the agreements we had with ExxonMobil” for the fracking pilot projects

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: The site of existing Manatí 1 conventional well where the Colombian state-owned oil company Ecopetrol had said it would develop the Platero pilot fracking site. The Magdalena River is seen in the background. Image from the Podion Corporation.

El Tiempo has published an article with the headline: Ecopetrol will no longer do fracking in Colombia and ended its alliance with ExxonMobil.

They report: “Ecopetrol announced that it will put a stop to the progress it had made to carry out the Kalé and Platero pilots.”

Ecopetrol president Felipe Bayón says: “This is intended to give the government the opportunity to look at the issue. At Ecopetrol, we have proactively requested the suspension and hit the brakes with the unconventional. We are undoing what we had advanced.”

El Tiempo also explains: “Both Kalé and Platero were going to be developed in the municipality of Puerto Wilches, department of Santander, for which Ecopetrol had signed an agreement with its US partner ExxonMobil, but it is falling apart.”

Bayón says: “We have undone the agreements we had with ExxonMobil for exchanges of what is called: shares in the blocks. We are acting in a manner consistent with the message of not doing unconventional.”

He does, however, also say: “From Ecopetrol we step on the brakes with the unconventional. If the National Government and Congress make the decision that they are not made unconventional in the country, Ecopetrol will not do it.”

He added that in mid-September: “We formally asked the National Hydrocarbons Agency [ANH] to suspend the terms of the contracts for a period of 90 days, we are waiting for a response. This is intended to give the ANH and the government time to sit down and look at the issue of non-conventionals.”

Back in April 2021, Toronto-based Sintana Energy Inc. noted that it “holds an undivided 30% non-operated participation interest in a Contract for Exploration and Production for Block VMM-37 [where the Platero pilot project was to be conducted]. ExxonMobil holds the remaining 70% participation interest in the Block VMM-37 Contract and is the designated Operator.”

It added: “Regarding Project Platero, Sintana has been and continues to be in positive communications with both ExxonMobil and the ANH to ensure that the integrity of both the Company’s commercial arrangements with ExxonMobil and the Contract for VMM-37 with the ANH are honored.”

We continue to follow this.

Photo: On June 28, 2022, PBI-Canada met with a PBI-Colombia accompanied CREDHOS convened meeting of social leaders in Puerto Wilches and heard their determination to stop fracking and to defend life, water and territory. On July 5, we shared those concerns with the Embassy of Canada in Bogota.

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