Colombian Minister for Mines and Energy Mauricio Cárdenas’ remarks focused on the role of Colombia’s mining and energy sectors in strengthening the economy. He showed the robust growth of Colombia’s resource exports, with coal and oil alone growing from $15.68 billion in 2009 to $36.35 billion in 2011 and making up 64 percent of total exports that same year. Oil production went from 785,000 barrels per day in 2010 to an estimated 1.07 million in 2012, and is set to continue rising, though reserves are not expected to last into the long term. The minister also stated that Colombia has the second biggest potential for non-conventional energy in Latin America, after Argentina.
Infrastructure development and capacity building was a priority. Pipelines are planned to take hydrocarbons from Colombia’s interior to its Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and refineries in Cartagena and Barrancabermeja will be modernized and expanded, with the former costing $4.8 billion. There are also plans to create an interconnected power network with Panama, starting with a 300MW capacity, and eventually expanding this out to the rest of Central America. Domestic production of electricity will also increase.
How does a country turn a resource boom into a blessing? Save profits, diversify production and exports, and insure government transparency, said Minister Cárdenas.