Colombia: NGO report on environmental, human rights impacts of Pacific Exploration & Production

A report by Fidh, Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo, ENS and PASO highlights negative impacts on local communities and workers at Rubiales, a town where large oil operations take place.  The report includes allegations of labour abuses, as well as other abuses by private security contractors serving Pacific and Ecopetrol. Ecopetrol took over control of the operations from Pacific in July 2016. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the four companies mentioned in the report to respond. Pacific Exploration & Production, Ecopetrol, ISVI and Montajes J&M responses (only in Spanish) are available below. Pacific also responded to National Observer.

Get RSS feed of these results

All components of this story

Report
26 July 2016

“Colombia: The human cost of oil: A Human Rights Impact Assessment on the activities of Pacific Exploration & Production Corp. in Puerto Gaitán”

Author: Fidh, Cajar, Ens, Paso

The petroleum sector, characterized by frequent and pronounced booms and busts, is one of the largest sources of revenue in Colombia...More than half of the country’s oil is produced in the department of Meta, where the majority is extracted in the municipality of Puerto Gaitan. However, the social and economic context in Puerto Gaitan is marked by poverty2, a lack of access to public services such as education and health care, unemployment, inadequate working conditions, social conflicts, repression, the criminalization of community leaders and trade unionists, corruption, environmental damage, and the acculturation of indigenous communities living in reserves located near oil installations. This study documents and analyzes the impacts that oil exploration and extraction activities have had on the human rights and the environment of local communities in Puerto Gaitan, with a particular focus on the Rubiales-Piriri (hereinafter Rubiales) and Quifa oil concessions, carried out by the Canadian company Pacific Exploration & Production Corp. (hereinafter Pacific) in association…with the Colombian company Ecopetrol…On July 1, 2016 operations at the Rubiales concession were turned over in their entirety to the majority state-owned company Ecopetrol. Due to the drop in oil prices, among other factors, Pacific has entered into insolvency proceedings in Canada to avoid bankruptcy. This transition, combined with a lack of state initiatives, has raised deep concerns regarding accountability and possible reparations for social and environmental liabilities incurred over the previous years..

Read the full post here

Company response
25 July 2016

Response by Ecopetrol

Author: Ecopetrol

Ecopetrol said (in Spanish) it will not address this particular report this time.

Company response
25 July 2016

Response by ISVI Ltda

Author: ISVI

…ISVI LTDA never have had a direct contractual relationship with denominated Pacific Rubiales Energy neither have been the only one security company in charge of their operations as stated mistakenly there.  Certainly, ISVI LTDA concluded two contracts in services provision modality with the company Meta Petroleum Corp: the first signed at the end of 2010 whose objective was the provision of the professional service of security analysts in their exploratory blocks.  The second one was signed on 2012 in order to provision the regular and mobile surveillance without weapons in Campo Rubiales.  It is so important to clarify that the physical security of Quifa Campus never was at charge of ISVI LTDA, therefore the presumed breach facts of human rights happened there are unconnected to us...

Download the full document here

Company response
25 July 2016

Response by Montajes J&M

[The response is available only in Spanish]

Article
20 July 2016

Response by Pacific Exploration & Production

Author: Pacific Exploration & Production

Pacific Exploration & Production sent a response in Spanish saying it has addressed the issues in the past (in Spanish) and will not respond this time.

Article
20 July 2016

“Canadian petroleum giant accused of environmental, human rights abuses in Colombia”

Author: National Observer

…Toronto-based Pacific Exploration & Production is allegedly violating labour regulations, causing environmental damage, and negatively impacting the survival of local Indigenous communities near the Rubiales-Pirirí and Quifa oil concessions in Colombia, according to a damning report by a coalition of South American lawyers and international NGOs, released Tuesday…They found that 81 per cent of employees did not believe their employer allowed for free and voluntary union membership, and that the subcontracting models used by Pacific amounted to illegal outsourcing….They further found that the company had contracted a private security company which hindered the movement of free trade unionists, members of Congress, and community leaders, and has disturbing "co-operation agreements" with the Colombian Prosecutor General's Office and National Police that have not been made available to the public….In an email statement to National Observer, Pacific said that it "completely and categorically" disagreed with the report's findings. Pacific is part of a select group of 28 companies admitted to the international Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights initiative, and has strict sustainability and ethics guides.

Read the full post here