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Colombia provisionally approves ExxonMobil fracking pilot project

Wed 31st March, 2021 8:19pm
BOGOTA, March 31 (Reuters) - Colombia has provisionally
approved U.S. oil company ExxonMobil Corp's  XOM.N  plan to
develop a pilot project for hydraulic fracturing, known as
fracking, in the country's Valle Medio del Magdalena basin, the
oil regulator said on Wednesday. 
    With the Platero investigative project ExxonMobil becomes
the second company to begin a fracking pilot project in
Colombia, after majority state-owned oil company Ecopetrol
    The project is expected to attract $53 million in
investment, Colombia's National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) said.
    The contract for the project is expected to be signed from
April 8, an ANH spokeswoman told Reuters.
    ExxonMobil did not immediately respond to a request for
    Development of non-conventional energy deposits, including
fracking for shale gas and coal bed methane, is highly
polarizing in Colombia and commercial development of such
deposits is not permitted.*:nL1N2LF3S0
    Colombia's highest administrative court has upheld a
moratorium on commercial exploitation of non-conventional energy
deposits, but is holding hearings ahead of a final ruling on the
    However, the court gave the green light for fracking pilot
projects, intended to gather scientific information so decisions
about the future development of non-conventional energy deposits
can be made.
    While energy companies have long maintained that fracking
and other non-conventional hydrocarbon sources are important for
Colombia's economy and energy self-sufficiency, environmental
activists warn it will damage the environment and threaten

 (Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Richard Chang)
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