QCOSTARICA — The president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, affirmed on Wednesday that his country should engage in a national discussion about the exploration and exploitation of natural gas and gave Norway as an example of a country that extracts the resource without harming the environment.
“We have to assess the value of the resource that is there, which seems to be multi-billion dollar, to have a national discussion,” Chaves declared at the press conference after the Governing Council when asked by a journalist about the issue.
The president commented that in the country “there are people who say that Costa Rica should take advantage of all the natural resources that Mother Nature and God gave us,” despite the fact that previous governments signed moratoriums on the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas.
“For those who say that extracting gas destroys mother nature and that it cannot be done ecologically, I have a word for you: Norway,” Chaves said.
The president stated that Norway is the country with the largest gas reserves in the world and that it has exploited the resource so well that “it could go many years without charging a single tax and continue providing services, paying pensions and investing in infrastructure.”
Currently, in Costa Rica, oil and gas exploration and exploitation is vetoed until 2050 by means of a presidential decree that could be revoked by any president who deems it appropriate.
The last moratorium was signed in 2019 by the country’s then president, Carlos Alvarado, and covers both the continental and maritime territories.
Since 2002, a ban on oil exploration and exploitation has been in effect in Costa Rica, originally declared by President Abel Pacheco (2002 -2006) and later extended by Presidents Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014), Luis Guillermo Solís (2014-2018), and Carlos Alvarado (2018-2022).
The Alvarado government extended the moratorium to 2050 to frame it within the National Decarbonization Plan, which seeks to abolish the use of fossil fuels in the country by 2050 and promote the use of clean energy in order to combat the climate crisis.