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Colombia's first fracking could start in late 2021: energy minister

Highlights

Colombia to sign first contracts in November

Government to evaluate pilot projects before elections

Mexico — The first fracking in Colombia could come by the end of 2021, after companies obtain necessary environmental permits, energy minister Diego Mesa said Oct. 6

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The Colombian government expects to sign the first contracts for pilot projects in November and December and complete environmental impact assessments in the first half of 2021, Mesa said during a webinar organized by The Dialogue, a not-for-profit organization.

If this goes as planned, the government of Ivan Duque "will be able to evaluate the pilot projects before the end of his term, which is August 2022," Mesa said.

Named minister of energy and mining in June, Mesa spoke about Colombia's transition towards cleaner sources of energy and the efforts the country is conducting to push power generation using renewable technologies.

Colombia's oil and gas industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting decline in both domestic and international demand for its mostly heavy crudes. Its crude production averaged 742,091 b/d in August, down 16% from the year-ago month.

Colombia is also working to reduce its dependence of coal, Mesa said. Colombia is the world's fifth-largest coal exporter.