Latin American states like Colombia have been important producers of oil and gas for this southern continent, the Caribbean and North American markets. Colombia’s crude oil production is primarily located onshore, in the northwest and centre of the country, close to major refined product-consuming regions. Meta Department, in central Colombia, is an important production area, producing predominately heavy crude oil. The area’s Llanos Basin contains the Rubiales oilfield, the largest producing oil field in the country.
“Today we produce 900,000 barrels of oil, we use about 400,000 barrels for domestic use and for that we have reserves for six years,” states Oil and Mining Minister, Maria Fernanda Suarez. Additionally, “about 500,000 barrels are exported and bring in dollars,” said Suarez. In fact, oil accounts for about half of the country’s legitimate exports and is one of the main sources of revenue for the government in Bogota.
However, there have been no major oil or gas discoveries since 2009 which has prompted the government to look towards allowing fracking in its ageing oil and gas fields to boost output and maintain long-term self-sufficiency. Fracking could give the industry a new lease on life. Minister Suarez estimates that fracking in existing fields could increase Colombia’s oil reserves currently put at 5.7 years to 11 years — and gas, from 15 to 30 years.