Colombian oil production hit by blockades amid fuel supply fears

Bnamericas Published: Monday, February 06, 2023
Colombian oil production hit by blockades amid fuel supply fears

Liquid fuel supply in Colombia has been threatened by a blockade affecting output in the country's most prolific oil-producing region, field operators said on Monday. 

Production has fallen by more than 49,500b/d since demonstrators began blocking the road between Puerto Gaitán and Rubiales in central Meta department a week ago, according to a joint statement from companies Ecopetrol, Hocol, Tecpetrol, Frontera and Cepsa

It called for an immediate end to the protests, saying the rights of more than 5,000 workers and their families had been violated. 

"The social and economic impacts are enormous, taking into account that the protesters are denying the provision of food and supplies, in addition to the necessary fuels for the continuous operation of the companies," the statement said. 

The protests are also impacting operations at the Cartagena and Barrancabermeja refineries, "putting at risk the supply of liquid fuels in Colombia and other countries to which we export," the companies added. 

Protest leaders have said they will only end the blockade if President Gustavo Petro or his deputy, Francia Márquez, agree to visit the area for direct conversations. They accuse officials of failing to keep a promise to build new roads in the region.

Meanwhile, Frontera said it had shut-in around 11,500boe/d of net production and suspended drilling activity until further notice after reaching its on-site capacity at Quifa and CPE-6 blocks. 

"Frontera's foremost priority continues to be the health and safety of its employees, contractors and the communities it operates in with a key focus on protecting the environment," the Canadian company said. 

"[We are] actively engaged in discussions with local and national authorities, other affected oil and gas companies, trade unions and associations to resolve the situation as soon as possible."

Frontera reported average production of around 42,200boe/d in January, including 23,200b/d of heavy oil, 16,800b/d of light and medium crude oil, 6.5Mf3/d (million cubic feet per day) of natural gas and 1,200b/d of natural gas liquids.

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