Franch company Veolia has been awarded a $73 million contract with Colombia’s biggest oil producer for the treatment of wastewater during oil extraction, the waste management firm announced on Tuesday.
Contracted by Ecopetrol America Inc. — the U.S. subsidiary of Colombia’s Ecopetrol — Veolia will treat water produced from some of the Ecopetrol’s oil fields in the Colombian plains, southeast of Bogota, a Veolia statement read.
Veolia, one of the world’s biggest waste management companies, will also provide equipment and services that will be used to treat the water from Castilla oil fields in Colombia’s “Llanos” Basin.
The wastewater management will include the a system to remove and recover oil from the produced water, treat sludge and cool the water before being released from the process.
“Very low energy and chemical consumption will contribute to building environmentally sound water treatment facilities while enabling Ecopetrol S.A to continue its expansion of the Castilla site, thereby increasing production of oil,” the statement continued.
The issue of water treatment in Colombia is becoming increasingly important as the mining industry places a strain on the natural resources in some areas of the country. The severe drought in recent months in some regions has added to the criticism of water use by such companies.
As the largest producer of petroleum in Colombia and second-largest in Latin America, Ecopetrol itself is reportedly responsible for a significant amount of environmental damage, even ignoring the contribution of Ecopetrol petroleum to global climate change, which scientists claim will have a disproportionate effect on tropical ecologies, such as Colombia’s.