Protests at a Cartagena oil refinery have caused plans for expansion to slow down and are increasing concerns of a rise in construction costs.
The delays have worried industry experts, who are concerned about mounting expenses caused by the protests. The remodeling of the refinery has already reached $6,467 million, a figure that is feared to rise if delays continue.
In a statement issued to local media, it is reported that “some 400 workers of the 12,000 contracted by CBI to work on the expansion, have opted for a cessation in activities, seeking improved wages and demanding that fewer foreign nationals are employed in the project.
Both the workers and contracting company have accused the other of intimidation, with alleged reports of harassment of workers by those fueling the protests and intimidation of security forces on the protesters.
According to local press, CBI maintains that there is no disparity in wages between Colombian and foreign nationals and also denied that the majority of the work force is made up of different nationalities. In a report published by the media CBI have said that “to date, 77% of employees are Colombian residents, mostly residing in Bolivar and Cartagena.”
The remodeling of the refinery will increase production from 80 thousand to 165 thousand barrels a day and will see conversion efficiency rise from 74 – 96%. With Colombian ambition aimed at extracting 1.35 million barrels of crude oil per day, it will be necessary to have more highly effective refineries.
- Sigue la tensión en la refinería de Cartagena (Portafolio)