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Ecopetrol and ExxonMobil: Advances in Hydraulic Fracturing

The oil companies Ecopetrol and ExxonMobil have made some progress in unconventional reservoir projects in Colombia, using hydraulic fracturing.

This had its origin on February 28, 2020, when the Colombian government issued Decree No. 328 of 2020, which establishes guidelines to make progress in pilot projects for comprehensive research on unconventional hydrocarbon deposits using the multistage hydraulic fracturing technique with horizontal perforation, among other provisions.

Then, in December 2020, the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) and Ecopetrol signed a contract to collaborate in the Kalé Integral Research Pilot Project.

Thus, on February 11, 2021, the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the ANH held an initial meeting with the local authorities and citizens of Puerto Wilches, Santander, where it will be located the Kalé Project, carried out, to discuss local concerns regarding the project.


Following reports of threats against environmental leaders in Puerto Wilches who opposed the Kalé Project, the Ministry of Mines and Energy and Ecopetrol publicly announced their opposition to these threats and reiterated their emphasis on public dialogue about the project.

On June 4, 2021, the ANH and ExxonMobil Exploration Colombia Limited signed the Platero Integral Research Pilot Project to carry out scientific research in the project area to analyze, among others, its capacity to produce hydrocarbons.

This project is the second unconventional reservoir project awarded by the ANH and will be carried out in Puerto Wilches, Santander.

Shortly after, on June 11, 2021, the ANH approved the alliance between Ecopetrol and ExxonMobil to develop the Kalé and Platero hydrocarbon research pilot projects in Puerto Wilches, Santander. Ecopetrol will be the operator of the pilots.

Finally, on July 8, 2021 local and national authorities and social leaders of Puerto Wilches, Santander, presented to the public the Platero Integral Research Pilot Project to socialize the scope, purposes and roadmap of the project and its various components, and the technical, environmental and social characteristics that operating companies must comply with.


The Colombian government has explained that these projects are temporary scientific and technical processes that will be carried out to evaluate the multistage hydraulic fracturing technique with horizontal drilling.

But, according to the newspaper El Espectador, environmentalists and organizations such as the Alianza Colombia Libre de Fracking and the Committee for the Defense of Water, Life and the Territory of Puerto Wilches (Aguawil) oppose the project with several arguments, one of which is them is that it will affect the biodiversity of the area, especially the Paredes and Yariguí swamps.


Redacción Opportimes

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