The ‘Qifa case’ has acquired a life of its own. This lawsuit between Pacific Rubiales and Ecopetrol turns on a clause that triggers an increase in Ecopetrol’s participation once production hits a certain level. The fight is over whether the trigger is defined by total production or just Pacific Rubiales’ net production. So much has been published on such little understanding that a number of ‘myths’ have arisen that Pacific has gone public to deny.
According to Mercedes Rincón, member of Congress, in view of the profits that currently Ecopetrol earns, it is clear that the government was wrong when, two years ago, it tried to sell 10% of the company’s shares that owned. As reported by El Nuevo Siglo, the congresswoman believes that the government’s aborted attempt to sell another 10% would have been a bad idea and it has proven better to have held onto the shares.
National business magazine Dinero reported that despite the country achieved an average production of 1,011,992 bpd; the priority now is to find oil reserves. Reserves in Colombia are of 2.259M barrels, which virtually allow a production for four or five years; however, according Amylkar Acosta, member of the board of Ecopetrol: “On average, in the world, the relationship between production and reserves is for a horizon of 10 years. But in Colombia, in 2012, that equation has declined for the fourth consecutive year, as production increases faster than the amount of reserves.
As reported by business newspaper La Republica, Colombia will participate in the Mining Investment Show, to be held in Toronto, Canada. A Ministry of Mines and Energy committee, the National Mining Agency and Invest in Bogota, a subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce will attend.
National newspaper Portafolio reports that current Mines and Energy vice-minister Tomás González will go to the President’s office, current Finance vice-minister Germán Arce Zapata will go to head the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) and current head of the ANH Orlando Cabrales Segovia will replace Tomás González at Mines and Energy. The movement of Arce was described as absolutely certain, suggesting there was perhaps some doubt about where Orlando Cabrales might go.
Again a speech to the Large Scale Mining conference, which illustrates has the same problem to convince the population, press and opinion leaders that the economic benefit of their participation in the Colombian economy far exceeds the direct and indirect costs of extractive sector activities. From a MinMinas press release, translated and with commentary by Hydrocarbons Colombia.
Although hydrocarbons and mining are completely different, the Large Scale Mining sector faces many of the same public relations challenges that the petroleum sector faces. Political commentators accuse it of polluting and failing to pay its ‘fair share’ for the results of its activities. Communities look to extract services and investment that the Colombian state fails to provide in return for peace. Congressmen look at the sector’s profits and wonder how they can get a bigger slice of the pie for the public purse. In this context, what President Santos might say to the Large Scale Mining’s second annual conference has relevant things to say about the government’s attitude towards resource industries or extractive industries in general.
Caracol Radio reported that a group of congressmen led by Maritza Martinez, Jorge Enrique Robledo, Alexander Lopez and German Navas, presented to the State Council an action to nullify a concept of the Dian (Colombia’s tax authority). This concept allows oil and mining companies to deduct royalties from taxes payment.
As reported by newspaper El Nuevo Siglo, Orlando Cabrales, president of the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH), said that the agency will supervise the oil production of the companies in the country. At present, this work is done by the Ministry of Mines and Energy. “What we want is move forward with a much more automated control, much more systematic. It is now manual”, he explained, and he added: “We have to determine how much the production is.”
Business newspaper Portafolio reported that President Juan Manuel Santos said the government appointed six delegates of the National Planning Department (DNP) to decentralize this entity and establish direct contact with governors and mayors. The goal is to accelerate implementation of royalty-financed projects. The governors and mayors may think this is not enough.