Ft: Occidental wins drill site ruling

M A Jones jones118 at SPAMlineone.net
Thu May 18 01:54:34 MDT 2000

By James Wilson, Bogota
Published: May 17 2000 03:08GMT | Last Updated: May 17 2000 04:01GMT

Occidental Petroleum said on Tuesday it would immediately restart work at an
oil drill site in Colombia after an appeal judge found in favour of the US
company in a dispute with a tribal group.

Occidental had been forced in March to suspend work at the Gibraltar site,
part of the Samoré exploration block near the Venezuelan border, when a
judge decided that the U'wa people had not been adequately consulted over
the oil exploration.

The Colombian government is supporting the US company's exploration,
believing it could find reserves of 1.3bn barrels, equivalent to about 60
per cent of Colombia's current reserves. Occidental, which has been
operating in Colombia for 30 years, had been working on improving
infrastructure in the area and hoped to begin its first test drilling at
Gibraltar later this year.

Colombia may have to import oil by 2004 if fresh strikes are not made. The
government has made Samoré a test of its will to proceed with controversial
projects. The drill site lies just outside a large reserve granted to the
U'wa by the govenment. However, the indigenous group has won international
support for its claim that its way of life will be affected by the oil

from Ft.com
Mark Jones

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