At least 80 oil companies have been blockaded this year

May 15, 2012 – 12:44 am

Only the first quarter saw about half as many cases as occurred in 2011.

After chase the ghost of protests by contractors, which stopped production last year, and without attacks on pipelines in recent months, the oil industry faces another crossroads from blockades organized by the communities where they operate.

Figures from the Colombian Petroleum Association (ACP) reveal that last year the number of interruptions to the development of company activities increased by 88 percent, totaling 191 cases. But this year the concern is greater because, without consolidating data from all companies, from January to March the number of situations reached 80, representing 46.8 percent last year and this is sure to rise when all reports are consolidated. That is, if the trend continues, at least 320 blockades would be recorded throughout the year.

The determining factor in the “explosion” of social protests has been the reform of the royalties, which became final on May 2, with the approval of the reconciliation of texts from the Senate and the House of Representatives.

ACP President, Alejandro Martinez, warns that the situation has been exacerbated by the disagreement of people in the producing departments to the decrease in royalty income.

Between January and March, the blockades have been more visible in the Casanare, where there have been 26, and Meta, with 16 cases so far. The worrying thing is that little is known because of the smaller companies,  except in the case of companies listed on international stock exchanges, such as Petromagdalena, which is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. From 24 April, the company spent 16 days without producing at least 3,000 barrels in the Cubiro block for shots of people in San Luis de Palenque and Trinidad (Casanare).

The ACP noted that among the causes appear the requirement for local recruitment, repairs of road infrastructure and the adjustment of wages to the level paid by Ecopetrol. In addition, communities demand construction of aqueducts, sewers, schools, hospitals, utilities and even cellular Internet access in remote areas.

The protesters have not taken the producing fields and exploration, but have managed to make blockades at strategic points, or take control of access to facilities and not let workers enter.

Oil companies say unions and the Trade Union (USO) are taking over the representation of communities and that there is an absence of governance in some areas, where the authorities do not act in a timely manner to avoid or end the assaults.

The impact of the protests in the coming days will be known when the Ministry of Mines figures reveal oil production in April, a publication that has taken longer than usual. Omar G. Ahumada Rojas

Translated by Hydrocarbons Colombia » Read More

16 days without producing oil!

2012-05-07T12: 10:00

In an event that passed almost unnoticed, several oil companies were the subject of a hostile takeover by the inhabitants of the municipalities of San Luis de Palenque and Trinidad, Casanare. After a series of meetings involving the presence of the Government, an agreement has been reached.

One of the oil companies affected by the protest that began on April 24, PetroMagdalena Energy, announced the restoration of operations in the area, after reaching agreements with the community.

 The Canadian company was forced to suspend production of at least 3,000 barrels per day from its star Cubiro block, located in the jurisdiction of these municipalities.

“The roads in the department of Casanare were being blocked and this led to a lack of order in the area, affecting the production of Cubiro block,” it said in a statement to the Toronto Stock Exchange.

It added that none of the employees or contractors of the company were involved in the protests.

The oil from this area has been the target of constant demonstrations against the company, which has caused the intervention of the authorities.

 Although losses from this episode are not yet quantified, the impact it can be felt in the average oil production in April.

 Translated by Hydrocarbons Colombia  » Read More

Pages 1