Environnements, gestion des ressources

4 years


Determination of a Indicator system for assessing the Ecological Impact of Oil. Prospecting and Drilling in Colombia. Case Study: Province of Huila.

Partner Institutions

Institution: Colombian petroleum Association
Department: Bogota- Colombia
Address: Carrera 86 #20-21 piso 4,
Bogota, Colombia
Phone: +57 (1) 616 83 84-87
Direction: Catalina Perez
Institution: Universidad Sur colombiana del Huila
Department: Huila – Colombia
Address: Avenida Pastrana Cra 1,
Neiva, Colombia
Phone: +57 (98) 875 24 39
Fax: +57 (98) 874 54 43
Direction: Jaime Rojas


Institute: Institut des sciences et technlogies de l’environnement (ISTE)
Laboratoire de gestion des écosystèmes (GECOS)
Faculty: Environnement Naturel, Architectural et Construit (ENAC)
Address: CHB Ecublens
1015 Lausanne, Suisse
Phone: +41 21 – 693 57 73
Fax: +41 21 – 693 57 60
Direction: Elizabeth León


The development of new projects related to the oil industry in populated or environmentally fragile regions may arise public concern about their environmental impact. Sometimes these concerns lead to public opposition to this kind of projects. In Colombia, these concerns are generally taken into consideration within environmental impact assessment (EIA). EIAs are time-consuming and expensive in Colombia, and sometimes the data in them presented cannot be assured reliable. Several factors led to this lack of reliability, e.g. poor definition of the sampling and analysis programs, and the inadequate selection of parameters aimed at appraising the impact.

This research is aimed at developing an ecological indicator system (EIS) suitable for assessing the impact of oil prospecting and drilling on natural ecosystems. These ecosystems are important constituents of the environment as a whole. The Department (political division equivalent to a federal state) of Huila (located at the southwest of Colombia) has been chosen as case-study region for this research.

EIS will allow obtaining reliable data from which the impacts on ecosystems will be assessed. In this way, most of the limitations of the current EIA procedure will be overcame. Depending on the results of an analysis of the existing infrastructure in Department of Huila, the data obtained could be incorporated into a spatially referenced information system. EIS will be a tool for continuous assessment of the condition of ecosystems that will allow the Colombian government and the oil industry to focus and act on priority environmental issues.


  • Elizabeth Leon Velasquez. Evaluation de la qualité du paysage lié au développement des activités de l’industrie du pétrole en Colombie -Région pilote: Département du Huila. Lausanne octobre 1999.
  • Diego Daza S., Miguel Pabón R., Daniel Vergara G., and Gerardo Viña, V. Environmental Land-Use for Hydrocarbon Exploration and Exploitation in Colombia. International Conference on Health, Safety & Environment in Oil Gas Exploration and production. 26-28 June 2000, Norway.
  • Maria Beatriz Duran Osorio. Développement d’un système d’indicateurs physico-biotiques pour évaluer l’impact du transport des hydrocarbures par pipeline. Diplôme du Postgrade IME, EPFL, Lausanne octobre 2002.
  • Elizabeth Leon V., Daniel Vergara G. Developing Indicators to Assess the Main Ecological Impacts of Oil Industry in Colombia. Case study: Department of Huila. The Sixth International Conference on Health, Safety & Environment in Oil Gas Exploration and production , Malaysia 2002.

Asociación Colombiana de Investigadores en Suiza