Environmentalists have been alert to the oil incursion by the Schuepbach company, which will explore for oil in different areas of the northwest of the country.
Environmental groups, such asUruguay Free, they feared that the hydraulic fracturing technique would be used, which consists of drilling deeply below the surface, then dynamiting to create fractures in the rocky beds, and then injecting a solution of water with up to 600 chemical additives that release the fuels fossils, impossible to extract with traditional methods.
David Casey, chief executive of Petrel, the company's majority shareholder, assured El País newspaper that "the (exploration) program is entirely conventional and there are no requirements or plans to consider fracking as expensive and unnecessary."
According to Casey, they took into account the concerns that appear “due to lack of information” and appreciated “the opportunities for clarification” of their work.
In addition, the company, even though it had plans to carry out fracking, ran into a ban on this technique, which is in force in the departments of Paysandú, Salto and Tacuarembó.
Exploration begins in 15 days
The company already has machinery ready to start drilling in the designated areas. According to a Petrel statement, the wells are low-cost and oil and gas could be found at the same time in three of them.
The drilling will be done consecutively, one after the other and the first will be near Cerro Padilla, east of Paysandú, about 60 kilometers from the city of Tambores, near Route 26.
In Tacuarembó, the well will be located in the central-south of the department, in Cuchilla de la Pampa, while in Salto it will be in Cerro de Chaga, to the southwest, and in Cañada Fea, to the northeast of the city.
3.7 kilos of explosive material will be used per well, and environmentalists continue to warn that the Arapey, Buena Vista and Guaraní aquifers, among others, would be affected.
In the Summary Environmental Report it is mentioned that 26 interviews were carried out with the residents of the nearby areas who would have expressed their expectation for the generation of employment and business opportunities, but who remain skeptical about the possible environmental damage to the area.
The company carried out informative activities in the schools of the localities involved, in charge of two geologists from the company. Most of the areas are purely livestock. "They gave a talk, presented some slides and then distributed educational material to the students," Pereira summarized. He pointed out that the visits did not have the endorsement of Primary, although he clarified that "there will be no sanctions for teachers," said Liliana Pereira, Paysandú's primary education inspector.
Schuepbach has been in ANCAP's records since 2009, but the explorations will be carried out at the expense of the company, and not the state-owned company.