A Plan That Seeks to Prohibit Oil and Natural Gas Exploration Advances in Costa Rica

    The objective of the deputies promoting the law is to prohibit the activity by law

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    A commission of the Costa Rican Congress endorsed this past Tuesday a bill that seeks to prohibit the exploration and exploitation of oil and natural gas in the country, and now the issue will soon be discussed by the plenary session of deputies.

    In a vote of 6 in favor and 1 against, the Congressional Environment Commission supported the bill so that it will soon be analyzed, discussed and eventually voted on by the Plenary.

    The initiative aims to declare Costa Rica as a territory free of oil and gas exploration and exploitation and prohibits the granting of permits and concessions related to these activities.

    Costa Rica, a country that does not produce oil and is recognized worldwide for its environmental policies, maintains a moratorium on oil and gas exploration and exploitation, but this is based on presidential decrees that can be revoked by another president.The objective of the deputies promoting the law is to prohibit the activity by law.


    The moratorium on oil exploration and exploitation has been in force since 2002, established by decree by then-president Abel Pacheco; It was then extended in the Government of Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014), in that of Luis Guillermo Solís (2014-2018) and finally in that of Carlos Alvarado (2018-2022) with validity until 2050.

    The current president for the period 2022-2026, Rodrigo Chaves, has stated on several occasions that he agrees that the country should open a discussion on the convenience of searching for oil and gas.

    On October 4, Chaves announced that his Government requested support from Norway to obtain data on possible oil and natural gas reserves, in order to open a discussion in Costa Rican society about the convenience of taking advantage of these natural resources.

    Help from Norway

    “We asked the Government of Norway to do it as help to our country because Norway is the world champion in taking advantage of natural resources, conserving the environment and generating wealth and prosperity,” Chaves declared that day.

    The president said that his government “has decided not to bind itself ideologically” because the moratorium was implemented by previous governments for “pose” and to “look pretty in a photo.”

    According to Chaves, there are old data that must be refined with modern technology, but he calculated that there may be “400,000 or 500,000 million reasons in dollars” for the country to discuss the issue.

    “There is no contradiction between the conservation of the environment and the use of natural resources and the natural beauty of a country,” the president noted that day.

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