The Business Year

Nelson Castañeda

COLOMBIA - Energy & Mining

Nelson Castañeda

President, Campetrol


Nelson Castañeda is a petroleum engineer with more than 34 years of experience. He has held senior management positions in the oil and gas industry, both in operations and the development of new businesses at the national and international levels. Between 2014 and 2017, Castañeda served as vice president of the Central Regional and Eastern Regional of Ecopetrol, where he was responsible for the operation in Magdalena Medio, Rubiales field and Caño Sur.

Campetrol seeks to strengthen the hydrocarbons sector, manage the energy transition, and promote sustainable development, among other goals.

How does Campetrol support the hydrocarbons industry, and how do you provide strength for the companies of the sector in Colombia?

The chamber is focused on five main aspects: building a better country; strengthening the hydrocarbons sector; acting with social and environmental responsibility; promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion; and promoting a sustainable development. We want to continue to feel proud of being part of this sector, as it contributes significantly to the country’s economy. For the past 10 years, the sector has been responsible for 45% of the country’s exports, 10% of GDP, and 28% of FDI. The sector makes up part of everyone’s lives, well-being, getting our food on time, the health system working with the adequate quality, communications, and so on. Therefore, we are extremely proud of helping to build a better country. We are highly convinced of the energy transition, though we acknowledge this transition must be done hand in hand with oil and gas. We are proud that Ecopetrol and ExxonMobil have the responsibility of executing the ongoing pilot projects of comprehensive research with the best technology and of highest quality, with transparent information, so that the country can determine if it has the possibility of having these unconventional resources and if the deposits have the possibility of becoming commercial. In a short term, we are also putting our faith on Colombian offshore. In the next 12 months, we will start drilling three appraisal wells. If we have a confirmation that these new exploration frontier does have the resources, the country will have medium- and long-term resources that can generate the income it needs to maintain all its social projects. Campetrol is the communication channel between the government, the industry, and the territory, and by working as a team we are able to achieve a higher level of welfare for Colombians. This is our mission in the chamber: we want to build a new country, strengthen the hydrocarbons sector, work with inclusion and equity, mange the energy transition, and promote sustainable development.

How is Campetrol supporting the energy transition?

Starting from 2020, the board decided to expand its statutory basis to companies working in oil, gas, and renewable energies. Through this change, we have now 140 affiliated companies. Campetrol supports all companies so that they can open a support line for goods and services focusing on renewable energies. This is a great business opportunity and a perfect way of showing support from Colombia to the new investments being made to change the energy matrix. We have outlined some 55 initiatives of our affiliates focusing on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, grouped under three aspects (people, the environment, and planet) and have even carried out a social activity for goal number 11, where we encouraged donations that would then be used to improve housing. We handed out awards to the three best initiatives.

How do the programs promoted by Campetrol translate into an impact for economic development for the regions and the country?

The opportunities for the sector today are focused on different aspects. First, we must increase the recovery factor of our deposits or the deposits administered by operator companies. We have around 60 billion of original oil in place. The recovery factor in the country currently is 21%, and if we can increase that factor by just 1%, we will have 600 million barrels that could be used as reserves. The global average of recovery factor is at 34%, which means we have an interesting gap of 13 points to increase our production, based on the current deposits. The second-best option relies on unconventionals, through which we would be able to quadruple the country’s reserves. The third aspect is offshore. With the bet of Shell that will be drilled with Ecopetrol, we would have the possibility of starting production on these projects with national purchase. 



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