Fracking in Colombia in 2020?

Minister of Environment (MinAmbiente) Luis Gilberto Murillo got us excited after talking about the possibility of using fracking in Colombia, but we do not know if we should believe what we hear.

Murillo said that in the next three to five years, the oil industry could use fracking in Colombia and that together with the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MinMinas), MinAmbiente created a plan to approve this technique in the country, using the best international standards to protect the environment. (HCC: That is about what his predecessors said, three to five years ago.)

Murillo commented that the first phase of this project is exploration and the country has gained much experience over the last five years. Second stage is related to exploration and production through fracking.

"We agreed with MinMinas to develop an enlistment plan that will take three to five years, so that the country has the guarantee that we do this activity in the framework of the best global environmental standards," he said.

He emphasized that the industry must have research to verify that this technique does not affect water reservoirs.

"We must have a very precise research and study the groundwater and aquifers, especially in the Middle Magdalena Valley," he added. (HCC: That is also what his predecessors said, three to five years ago.)

There should also be monitoring plans on the quality of groundwater and a model of chemicals used for hydraulic stimulation fluids. (HCC: His predecessors said they had done this, three to five years ago.)

Bottom-Line: We get all excited by the headlines. The business press believes things have changed. Sometimes companies believe things have changed. Sometimes we believe things have changed.

But then you parse the actual words and you find that Minister Murillo simply repeats the same work program his predecessors said they had three to five years ago. Sometimes his predecessors even said they were done, three to five years ago.

So either he is completely unaware of the work of his predecessors or he is unable to read (unlikely) or he thinks he is fooling us.

Three to five years more?

The minister will be out of this job in 10 months. Then there will be a new MinAmbiente, likewise unable to read or unaware of the work of his predecessors.

And he or she will talk about “three to five years” to be assured that fracking has no adverse environmental impacts. They will no doubt also talk about mapping the chemicals in fracking fluids, a task we heard a Minister say was done, three to five years ago. (We forget which. There have been so many under the Santos regime.)

But then, just as we get to three to five years from August 8th, 2018, the minister will change or maybe even the government will change (governments last four years in Colombia). And then a new MinAmbiente will talk about three to five years and mapping the chemicals in fracking fluids and etc. etc.

Ad infinitum.

Tags: colombia, energy, fracking, hydrocarbons, latam
Posted in LatAm, Energy, Energy