RCN Radio has been giving considerable coverage to the problems of Meta, not always with a positive view towards the hydrocarbons industry. Last week however, it wrote an article on the drive from Bogota to Villavicencio with an objective mindset. This route is used heavily by tanker trucks moving crude from the Llanos to ports and refineries and, on the return leg, naphtha as a diluent to the fields. The report makes it clear there will not be a solution to congestion and dangerous accidents anytime soon and that there could be short-term consequences for the industry.
The main road from the Llanos Basin to the central part of the country is only two lanes and extremely narrow at various points. Tanker trucks carrying crude from the fields and returning with naphtha for dilution clog up the roads. There have been accidents and some deaths. See our earlier article here. Work was supposed to have started on widening the most complicated portions but that is still generating controversy.
The head of the Colombian Transporters Confederation, Jorge Ignacio Garcia, told RCN Radio yesterday that the association’s 50,000 members had “turned off their motors” indefinitely because of a CoP$76 (US$0.04) increase in the price of a gallon of gasoline and CoP$111.60 (US$0.06) per gallon of diesel fuel. In Bogotá, the price of a gallon of diesel is US$4.58. (Unusually for a country which otherwise uses the metric system, gasoline prices are quoted per US gallon which is about 4 liters.)
Respected alternative Internet-based news site La Silla Vacia reports that the mayors of Villavicencio (Meta) and Alan Jara, the governor of the department of Meta, are considering civil disobedience to get the government’s attention on the problem of tanker trucks in the route Bogotá-Villavicencio. (The article is the fourth down the page.)
This route is essentially the only way to get from the country’s center to the economically important state of Meta and so all commerce travels by truck by this highway. Although portions are four-lane and much work has been done to improve transit times, the improvements come through tunnels and viaducts that are often two-lane.
From a Defense Ministry Press Release. Translated and with commentary by Hydrocarbons Colombia.
A new security forces plan aimed at protecting the country’s economic infrastructure, was announced today by the Minister of Defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón, during the “All Allied for Safety” forum organized by Semana magazine.