Residents raise concern over Amazon drilling project

Friday, February 9, 2018

Residents and lobbying groups have sought guarantees that a proposed oil and gas drilling project in Colombia's Caguán Putumayo basin will not adversely impact the local community.

Around 600 people aired their concerns about the Nogal project at a meeting held by environmental regulator Anla in Morelia in the southern department of Caquetá.

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In a statement, Anla said the public's misgivings related to water supply, fauna displacement, environmental compensation programs, social investments and long-term effects on ecosystems, among other issues.

Exploration rights for the Nogal block, which covers 239,414ha on the fringes of the Amazon rainforest, were awarded to Emerald Energy in 2012.

Jaime González, Emerald's environmental coordinator, outlined a series of investments planned by the company to protect the environment and benefit local communities.

Emerald, a subsidiary of China's Sinochem, is awaiting the approval of an environmental license to begin exploration drilling on the block, which extends across the municipalities of Morelia, Valparaíso and Milán.

Anla will also convene a public hearing to discuss the impact of the project on March 15.