Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean

Colombia – making the diversification play

Although the Colombian economy is more diversified than its neighbour Venezuela, it is still vulnerable to any sustained global move away from fossil fuels. In 2019, for example, 48.6% of its total exports were fossil fuels (crude and refined petroleum, 39.4%, coal and coke 9.2%). In pursuit of a promised 51% cut in CO2 emissions by 2030, the national government and energy companies are seeking to strike some kind of balance between maintaining fossil fuel production and nudging the energy mix towards greater reliance on renewables. Some elements of that balance are sharply criticised by environmentalists. With low conventional oil reserves (representing about seven years of production), Colombia has for example given the go-ahead to the drilling of pilot fracking wells by ExxonMobil in the department of Santander in the northeast of the country. It has also invested in upstream exploration in the Permian basin in Texas.

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