- Petro Names Engineer to Lead Colombia Away From Fossil Fuels
By Andrea Jaramillo, Bloomberg News
EnergiesNet.com 07 25 2023
President Gustavo Petro is tasking electrical engineer Andrés Camacho to lead Colombia’s transition away from fossil fuels as his new Mines and Energy Minister.
He will replace Irene Vélez, who resigned last week following allegations of abuse of power. Camacho, who studied renewable energy and most recently worked as an adviser at the ministry, was initially set to head Colombia’s hydrocarbons agency known as ANH.
His designation was confirmed by Petro in a podcast interview with journalist María Jimena Duzán released on Tuesday.
Petro was elected last year on promises to wean the economy off its dependency on fossil-fuels. During her 11 months in the job, former minister Vélez strongly defended his decision not to sign new oil-exploration contracts, even after reports showed the nation’s crude and gas reserves had fallen to the equivalent of less than 8 years.
Camacho, 42, was a candidate to the Lower House in 2018 as part of Comunes party which was founded by former members of the FARC guerrilla group.
Investors will be waiting to hear what Camacho’s stance is regarding a potential need for new exploration contracts, said Sergio Cabrales, a professor at Bogotá’s Los Andes University. Yet, “it seems they want to maintain the same stance as that of the former minister,” he said.
Petro has argued that Colombia can phase out oil and coal production without jeopardizing his fight against poverty and infant malnutrition, a position which has met considerable political push-back.
Camacho’s appointment “should be neutral for the market,” said Steffania Mosquera, an analyst at Credicorp Capital in Bogotá. Given his role as advisor in Petro’s Historical Pact party, Camacho’s appointment “is a sign of continuity to the energy transition message the government has had.”
bloomberg.com 07 25 2023