This morning, LA FM Bucaramanga tweeted: “In Puerto Wilches, the communities carry out protests and blockades in different parts of the municipality, in rejection of the decision that gave free rein to the fracking pilot projects.”

BLU Santanderes has also tweeted: “Residents block roads and oil areas in Puerto Wilches, Santander, in protest against fracking projects. Environmentalists took over the dock and prohibit the entry of boats through the Magdalena River.”

And early this morning, the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking tweeted:

“At this time we accompany the communities of Puerto Wilches in the peaceful protest actions that are taking place against the fracking pilots of [Colombian President] @IvanDuque and [the oil company] @ECOPETROL_SA at the land and river access points to their municipality and to oil operations.”

Fracking appears imminent

On May 5, BluRadio quoted Diego Mesa, the Minister of Mines and Energy, saying: “We continue with the intention of having the first drilling on August 7…”

In November 2021, Natural Gas Intelligence reported: “[Ecopetrol] executives expect the pilot projects to come online by 2023.”

And a month later, Diario del Huila reported: “The president of [Ecopetrol], Felipe Bayón, said that although it is estimated that the extractions will begin in 2023, they could be advanced to 2022 if everything goes well.”

Ecopetrol and paramilitaries

On May 9, Al Jazeera reported: “Local environmental defenders and a representative of the JEP [the Special Jurisdiction for Peace extrajudicial court] told Al Jazeera that they suspected a connection between the paramilitary groups intimidating them and the state-owned Ecopetrol, which is behind the fracking project. The company has been accused of having ties with the Gulf Clan specifically.”

On June 4, El Espectador reported that Dairo Antonio Úsuga David (alias Otoniel), Ecopetrol gave a monthly contribution of 75 million pesos to the Clan del Golfo (AGC) paramilitary in exchange for providing security for two of the company’s wells.

More at Colombian environmental defenders express concerns about suspected links between Ecopetrol and paramilitary groups.

We are watching this situation closely.