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Colombia Has 7 Years’ Worth of Proven Oil Reserves Left, Finance Minister Says

"The energy transition is going to take 15 to 20 years and we are going to continue exporting oil and coal for much longer," Colombian finance minister Rocardo Bonilla told Reuters.
Published: June 21, 2023
Employees work with pipelines during the extraction of crude oil at a plant of Colombian petroleum company Ecopetrol in Acacias, Meta Department, south of Bogota on February 10, 2023. (Image: JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking with Reuters on Tuesday (June 20), finance minister of Colombia Ricardo Bonilla mentioned that his country has enough proven oil reserves to keep exporting for at least seven years, and that “with some contingencies that oil could go up to 10 years and gas up to 20 years.”

Reuters noted in the June 20 report that the incumbent Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, who came to office in August 2022, is a proponent of transitioning away from fossil fuels and that these efforts drove the local peso to a record low against the dollar in November.

Bonilla was fresh off a meeting in New York with investors, whose main concern was assurances around fossil fuel revenues. He added that the South American country’s switch to renewable energy would be a lengthy process.

“The energy transition is going to take 15 to 20 years and we are going to continue exporting oil and coal for much longer,” Bonilla told Reuters.

Colombia’s Finance Minister Ricardo Bonilla poses for a photograph during an interview with Reuters in New York City, New York, U.S., June 20, 2023. (Image: REUTERS/Rodrigo Campos/File Photo)

“The most important issue is how we closed the discussion on oil exploration and exploitation, which was to show the map of where the exploration fields are in Colombia, (and) the current contracts,” added the official, who was appointed in late April as Petro’s second finance minister in less than eight months.

Bonilla, who was also scheduled to meet with credit rating agencies, said the country seeks to diversify its sources of financing by issuing carbon credits focused on combating deforestation, green bonds that help finance projects that restore the environment and recover water sources, as well as social bonds to reduce poverty and inequality.

Reuters contributed to this report.