Colombia: protests shut down oil production

Petrominerales, the fourth largest oil producer in Colombia, resumed production Sept. 14 after a stoppage caused by protests, the company announced on its website, saying it “expects to be producing at full capacity within 48 to 72 hours.” Calgary-based Petrominerals produces 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) from all its fields. The company’s shares on the Bogotá exchange, which had slipped in recent days, started to rise again upon the announcement. The company thanked the Colombian government for “restoring public order to the area and their leadership in organizing community meetings that were held September 13.” During the meetings a timeline was agreed upon for “continued diplomatic discussions aimed at developing sustainable solutions for the area.”

Isnardo Lozano, secretary general of the USO oil industry union, told Colombia Reports that five round tables have been formed on the subjects of the environment, labor, social investment, goods and services, and human rights. He said “if these round tables result in something that the community sees as positive, we doubt very much that there would be a repeat of these protests.”

Demonstrations began Sep. 8 when protesters began blocking roads near the Corcel and Guatiquia oilfields in Meta department, to press greivances regarding environmental pollution, a lack of social investment, and a refusal to hire local people. (Colombia Reports, Bloomberg, Sept. 14)

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