News from Oil & Gas Expo Columbia 2012: Colombia’s oil production increases as security and safety improve
BY PRAMOD KULKARNI, Editor
BOGOTA – Colombia’s oil and gas industry has achieved 940 MMbopd of oil production in 2011 from a recent low of 540 MMbopd in 2006 as security and safety has improved in the country's oil and gas fields.
The improvement in security is the result of an integrated military campaign by the country’s armed forces and the police, according to General Jose Javier Perez, Chief of Staff for Colombia’s military services, speaking on the second day of the Oil & Gas Expo.
General Perez cited the addition of 20,000 police and 5,000 soldiers plus the use of remote monitoring, aerial surveillance and intelligence control centers to take the battle to FARC and ELN rebel forces. “We have killed the main leaders, and took over major transportation arteries and reduced kidnapping and extortion,” Perez explained.
From 2004 to 2011, Perez said 88% of the countryside has been cleared of rebel forces, terrorist attacks reduced 66% from 1,645 to 564, and attacks against infrastructure from 9,717 to 217. Narcotics cultivation has been reduced from 200,000 hectares in 2002 to 68,000 hectares in 2011.
This improvement in security has come at a cost—4,229 soldiers dead and 10,562 injured from 2002 to 2012. To underscore the military sacrifice, Perez introduced to the audience a 26-year-old soldier, Camilo Castellanos, in a wheelchair, who had lost both of his legs due to a landmine explosion earlier in 2012.
Ecopetrol CEO Jose Cardenas thanked General Perez for the military’s contribution in the prosperity of the oil and gas industry and called for increased cooperation in the coming years.