(Reuters) Colombia needs to rebuild trust between communities, businesses and the government to successfully execute its energy transition, Minister of Mines and Energy Andres Camacho told journalists on Thursday.
Camacho, an electrical engineer who previously worked in the ministry as an adviser, was officially appointed by leftist President Gustavo Petro earlier this month. Camacho faces the challenge of realizing Petro’s goal of weaning Colombia away from its dependence on oil and coal, a major source of income, amid acrimony between the administration and energy and mining companies.
Overcoming those problems will require a resetting of relations between all stakeholders, he said. “The change in the energy model involves reestablishing trust,” Camacho said. “Communities don’t allow projects to develop because they don’t see any benefit for them. Companies don’t trust the state because the state doesn’t help overcome these issues.
The state doesn’t trust companies because some have not delivered (and) the people don’t trust the government,” he said. Reuters this week reported that resistance from Indigenous groups in desert La Guajira province has hamstrung development of more than 50 possible wind and solar projects.
Asked about potential new bidding rounds for oil and gas blocks, Camacho said awarding new blocks was no guarantee of success. The minister was initially tipped to replace Clara Guatame as president of the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH). Though Guatame tendered her resignation in June, she remains in the post.
The ministry is examining the situation at the ANH, Camacho said, adding that he wants to quickly have stability across his team.