The Colombian government has decided to forego awarding new contracts for oil and gas exploration and instead focus its financial resources on developing the tourism industry and other energy sources.
Gustavo Petro, president of Colombia, was elected in August after running on a platform that included a commitment to stop the production of new hydrocarbons, phase out fossil fuels, and promote clean energy.
Colombia’s Minister of Mines and Energy, Irene Velez, said the decision to cease issuing new licenses would not have an impact on existing contracts while speaking on a panel about the transition to a clean energy economy at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
This strategy had been pledged during the campaign, but the rising cost of energy had raised rumours that Petro would change his mind and offer new land.
Even though it has been highly contentious, their decision to forgo awarding any new oil and gas exploration contracts is a blatant demonstration of their commitment to the battle against climate change. Velez informed the panel that this choice required rapid action and was of the utmost importance.
As per a government estimate, Colombia had 381 active generation as well as exploration contracts by the end of November.
Out of that total, 331 are under the authority of the nation’s hydrocarbons regulator ANH, 49 are under the control of the state-owned oil corporation Ecopetrol in Colombia, and one is a concession agreement.
The official research claims that current research and production contracts ensure Colombia’s natural gas self-sufficiency for the next 15 years, even though oil makes up nearly a third of the nation’s exports.
After Velez’s statement, Petro pledged that shortly the weight of oil would be replaced in the Colombian economy by clean energy and tourism.
He told journalists in Davos that a significant investment in tourism may effectively cover the gap left by fossil fuels, in the near term or as part of a transition, given the beauty of the nation and its capacity and potential to produce renewable energy.
Petro added that a global accord is required to reduce the consumption of coal, oil, and gas in order to transition away from fossil fuels.