Colombia’s Mines and Energy Minister Gives Presser During CERAWeek

(Energy Analytics Institute, 9.Mar.2022) — Colombia’s Mines and Energy Minister Diego Mesa held a media press conference during CERAWeek by S&P Global. Excerpts from that 9 Mar. 2022 discussion follow.

HYDROCARBON PRODUCTION

— Colombia closed 2021 with an average production rate of about 730,000 b/d, the lowest rate one in almost a decade. The goal is to return production to pre-pandemic levels. I think over the next 12-18 months we should be able to increase production by between 80,000-100,000 b/d so I expect 2022 to close very close to 800,000 b/d and probably increase another bit in 2023. 

COAL PRODUCTION

— In recent years the Colombian coal sector has also been impacted by the pandemic as well as almost three months of strikes while a collective agreement with the labor union was negotiated. In 2020 there was a significant reduction in coal output which went down from about 80-84mn tons pre-pandemic to about 50mn tons. In 2021 we saw an increase of about 12.5% and in 2022 we expect production to increase hopefully in the double digits. Definitely, there’s a lot of interest in increasing coal output.

EXPLORATION EFFORTS

— Colombia went from 0 contracts in five years to 69 in just three and a half years. As a result, exploration investment in 2022 is going to be 2.2 times what it was in 2021, and we’re going to focus significantly on natural gas plays. Approximately 52% of total exploration investment this year will be dedicated to searching for natural gas.

RELATED STORY: Q&A with Colombia’s Mines and Energy Minister Diego Mesa

ENERGY SECURITY

— “I think Colombia is in a very privileged position regarding energy security because we’re self-sufficient in power, in oil and refined products and natural gas, we do have a small regasification plant in the north, but that is exclusively to service thermal plants in that region of the country. Household and industrial consumption of natural gas is all supplied.” 

— All the exploration campaigns from the 69 contracts that we’ve signed are starting now. One of the big announcements that we made is that Shell and Ecopetrol will start offshore drilling in deep waters. We have 11 Blocks offshore in the Caribbean and they have a combined exploration investment commitment per the contract of about $3.6bn, so obviously what’s going to take place onshore as well.

— “From a security energy security point of view we’re very comfortable in terms of electricity power We’ve been adding significant amounts of variable renewable energy to the mix to complement hydropower and thermal generation.”

— “We launched the road map for offshore wind and a deal with the municipality of Barranquilla and Copenhagen Investment Partners for the first offshore wind project in Colombian waters. It is going to be a 360 MW plant with investment of about $1bn. The dynamics of the power sector are so intense right now in a positive way that I’m very comfortable with energy security in Colombia.”

RELATED STORY: Colombia Launches Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap, Announces First Project

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By Piero Stewart. © Energy Analytics Institute (EAI). All Rights Reserved.