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    "Stopping oil exploration is economic suicide": Duque to Mines Minister Vélez

    January 20, 2023 - CE Noticias Financieras


      Former President Iván Duque has been a fierce contradictor of the Petro government's bet on ending oil exploration, one of the flags of his administration.Photo: EFE - Carlos

      OrtegaFormer President Iván Duque (2018-2022) completely contradicts the government's bet on ending oil exploration in the country to advance in the energy transition and generate alternative economies in the face of the climate crisis that is increasingly palpable. This is one of the most outstanding banners of the executive and one that has caused the most controversy. Duque, fierce opponent not only to President Gustavo Petro, but also the idea of stopping oil explorations, said that this measure will lead to the country's "economic suicide".

      "What does it mean for Colombia to stop exploring for oil and gas? It simply means a kind of economic and social suicide," were the words of Petro's predecessor. This was his response to the statement of the Minister of Mines, Irene Vélez, who from Davos, Switzerland, in the framework of the World Economic Forum, ratified that the country will not continue with oil exploration, even if the decision generates shocks in the citizenship.


      We know that very soon, the importers of coal will no longer be importing and we need to quickly generate an alternative economy," said Vélez

      , who stated that the reason

      for his statement is that oil and gas are the two raw materials that sustain the economy. Specifically, through exports, foreign investment and the stock market.

      "What does happen is that oil and gas represent more than 40% of our exports, more than 30% of our foreign direct investment. They are one of the main sources of stock market capitalization in our stock market and it is one of the main sources of foreign exchange for our economy. There are no products that can replace such peso in the short and medium term", he assured.

      In this sense, Duque said that it is possible to move towards renewable energies without stopping oil and gas exploration: "Colombia, if it moves towards the transition, can do so while coexisting with oil and gas, maintaining its reserves". Conserving these reserves is only possible if the country has "more exploration".

      "If exploration stops, the message we are giving to investors around the world is that Colombia's main source of income will disappear and this will generate uncertainty, concern and a large outflow of capital from our country", he predicted.

      In addition to this, former President Iván Duque dispelled what for him are ghosts about the use of oil in the country. For example, he indicated that Colombia does not use oil or gas to produce electricity: "Our energy matrix, more than 75% depends on water and we have taken steps as a society so that between 14 and 20% of the electricity produced in the country derives from non-conventional renewable energies, mainly wind and photovoltaic", he said, stating that this is not a concern about the discussion on oil.

      He also said that the nation "has been adapting its vehicle fleet to have more and more electric vehicles and demand less and less fuel than is produced in our territory", and that it is a world leader in the protection of key ecosystems. For all these reasons, he agreed, what Minister Vélez ratified should not be done:

      "We must prevent these messages from being given because they are misleading and have nothing to do with the energy transition. A responsible transition can be made, maintaining the sources of income and improving the environmental policy, as Colombia has done being a world leader for having declared more than 30% of its territory as protected areas."

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