Colombia: Updates on Mansarovar Energy (Oct 2018-Feb 2019)
Author: Dejusticia, Published on: 9 December 2018
After a public (“popular”) consultation on oil extraction was held in Cumaral, Meta, in which 97% of the population said no to extractives, the Colombian Constitutional Court decided a constitutional mechanism tool (tutela) filed by the oil company Mansarovar Energy Ltd. (Joint venture Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Sinopec) against the ruling that endorsed the referendum on hydrocarbon activities in the municipality. In its statement, the Court again analyzed the legality of these consultations that have taken place in several municipalities of the country for the communities to decide in favor or against the arrival of projects to extract natural resources in their territories. One of the reactions that most resonated around that decision was a letter sent to the president of the Constitutional Court, Alejandro Linares, in which the National Registrar authority, Alejandro Galindo, asked the Court what will happen with the consultations that were already scheduled. In response to which the Court confirmed that the State maintains its autonomy to decide on the use of the subsoil; that popular consultations are not the mechanism to veto or curb extractive projects. This decision left without any force the mechanism of the popular consultation that supported the will of the communities on their territories and left open the door for the mining and hydrocarbon companies to keep gaining ground in Colombia.