A comment is circulating on the networks, the author of which is the engineer Carlos Roldán and entitled: “Prohibiting oil extraction: an action against the environment” As an environmental geologist, with 15 years of experience in petroleum geology and more than 30 years in sedimentary geology, I feel it is my responsibility to point out the following:
It is absolutely false that in Costa Rica the existence of oil or natural gas deposits has been proven. What exists is a potential, which means that there could be conditions, but that does not imply that they actually exist. It is totally inappropriate and misleading to confuse potential with the actual existence of oil fields.
To go from knowing that there is potential to demonstrating the possibility of the existence of a deposit, research is required at a great cost that the country cannot afford. Oil exploration was carried out in the country for almost 70 years in the 20th century and no commercial deposits were found.
Wells several thousand meters deep were drilled, close to where there were oil or gas outbreaks on the surface, and yet nothing was found. The studies that still need to be done are very expensive and could only be carried out by transnational oil companies which, in short, would be the ones that would carry almost all the oil, in the event that a deposit was found.
It is extremely misleading and, even daring and, we would say, irresponsible, to affirm that in Costa Rica there is more than 350 billion dollars in oil, when there is no real and demonstrable scientific proof.
Therefore, it is not true that, with these resources, the liter of gasoline can be lowered by 300 colones. It is not worth creating those expectations for the country, especially due to the serious economic crisis we are going through.
Regarding the carbon dioxide emissions mentioned by Mr. Roldán, they can be offset with the development of forests, as the country has done for more than 30 years. Being one of the few countries in the world where forests have developed, far from disappearing.
What would be a real environmental damage would be to allow oil activity to take place in the country. For this reason, it is very important that this activity is prohibited, as well as that of Methane Hydrates, in order to close this issue forever.
Looking to the future
Compatriots: let’s not be fooled by those speeches. Costa Rica can get ahead by taking advantage of the natural resources that we really know exist and that we can use in an environmentally sustainable way. Let’s leave behind, once and for all, the history of oil and gold mining. It is time to turn the page and look to the future.