Colombia’s Minister of Mines, Irene Velez, announced on Thursday in Davos that her country would not issue new oil and gas exploration contracts, and was banking on tourism and green energy to “fill the gap.”
“We have decided that we will no longer grant new exploration contracts for gas and oil,” Mrs. Velez told a panel at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. “This is of course very controversial at the national level, but for us it is a clear signal of our commitment to fight climate change,” she added.
The measure was a campaign promise of left-wing president Gustavo Petro, who took office in August 2022.
The Colombian government has repeatedly insisted that such a decision would not affect existing contracts.
A few hours later, President Petro assured Davos that tourism and clean energy could replace the weight of oil in the Colombian economy “in the short term”.
Black gold accounts for about a third of Colombia’s exports, some $13.5 billion according to 2021 data.
“A big investment in tourism, given the beauty of the country, and the capacity and potential that the country has to generate clean energy, could perfectly, in the short term, or as part of a transition, fill the void left by fossil fuels, on which we depend,” Petro told journalists in Davos.