President Juan Manuel Santos clearly got an earful last week at the annual meeting of the country’s mayors. This is the second major change to the now not-so-new royalty process within days. From a DNP press release, translated and with commentary by Hydrocarbons Colombia
The new royalties distribution system was designed to increase the chances that they were spent on projects that increased economic infrastructure and decrease the chances that they ended up in the pockets of a few well-connected crooks. The plan also intended to allow all regions to compete for funds, not just producer regions. But the process is slow and took too long to get going. Well-run municipalities suffered along with corrupt ones. Now the government is backing down and will look at more direct payments. From a President’s Office press release, translated and with commentary by Hydrocarbons Colombia.
Meta governor Alan Jara has been particularly critical of the new royalty system and for understandable reasons: as the largest producer department he had the most to lose from a centralized distribution system. Here MinMinas tries to show what Meta has received and also to show Jara’s personal involvement in the process. From a MinMinas press release, translated and with commentary by Hydrocarbons Colombia.
At a recent conference in Cartagena, MinMinas Renjifo gave a ‘state of the industry’ speech. We did not care much for what he said about policy (see several articles last week) but this MinMinas press release is part of a necessary campaign to remind Colombians of the benefits of a well-running energy and mining sector. Translated and with comments by Hydrocarbons Colombia.
As reported by Caracol Radio, Congress will discuss the lawsuit between Ecopetrol and Pacific Rubiales for Quifa field exploitation. According to Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo, Pacific cannot refuse to pay Ecopetrol 1.5M oil barrels (equivalent to US$382M), after the Colombian courts ruled in favor of Ecopetrol.
France’s EFE news agency interviewed Oscar Villadiego, board chairman of the Regional Association of Oil, Gas and Biofuels Industry in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARPEL). Villadiego said that Latin America and the Caribbean form a region “full of opportunities” to produce hydrocarbons, adding that “more space should be given to new technologies to better and more dynamically develop these resources.”
We have heard Orlando Cabrales give the speech so many times while he was president of the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) that we could probably deliver the slides ourselves, perhaps even in our sleep. Now German Arce Zapata has taken over. He avoided the CWC Colombia Oil and Gas Summit and Exhibition in Cartagena, leaving that job to MinMinas Renjifo and went to Punta del Este in Uruguay to deliver, if not his maiden speech then one of this first presentations. We are just not sure we like the message. From an ANH press release, translated and with comments by Hydrocarbons Colombia
Minister of Mines and Energy Federico Renjifo spoke to an important legal conference in Cartagena this week. This was not his speech to the CWC Colombia Oil & Gas Summit and Exhibition which our correspondent said was the same speech trotted out at every conference and so unworthy of commentary. These remarks to senior lawyers and judges reflect the fine line that the Santos government is trying to tread between developing extractive industries while maintaining high environmental and community relationship standards. From a MinMinas press release, translated and with commentary by Hydrocarbons Colombia.
We will report separately on MinMinas Renjifo’s comments to the annual CWC Colombia Oil & Gas Summit and Exhibition in Cartagena but there was a lively forum on exploration that got to the heart of the country’s current problems with reserve growth. The issue for the industry participants in a round table and especially for Talisman’s Chris Spaulding and Gran Tierra’s Duncan Nightingale is that Colombia is not drilling anywhere close to enough wells.
National newsmagazine Dinero reports on its ‘rumors’ page that President Juan Manuel Santos is about to do a cabinet shuffle. The last such shuffle in September brought Federico Renjifo from MinInterior to MinMinas. Dinero reports that Renjifo is one of those rumored to be leaving at least his current post in the shuffle.