Planet Earth has recently witnessed a change in the behavior of climate variables (including temperature, rainfall, etc.), primarily attributed to global warming. This climate change is a threat that is materializing and has affected elements of the infrastructure, ecosystems, and environmental conditions worldwide, as well as the National Development Plans [“Planes Nacionales de Desarrollo”].
The hydrocarbon-transport infrastructure in Colombia has not escaped the effects of climate variability. Therefore, a strategy must be devised to manage the risk and to adapt these systems in the light of potential harmful effects, and also to supplement or improve the mitigation measures for the effects generated by the oil industry through its operations.
Climate disturbances lead to an increase in the likelihood of landslides, wildfires, floods, avalanches, and other natural hazards.
The major climate changes that have been identified and that may affect hydrocarbon-transfer systems in Colombia are the following ones:
• A gradual increase in temperature.
• Changes in the patterns and amounts of rainfall.
• A rise in sea level.
• An increase in the severity and frequency of extreme weather events.
The strategy for adapting the hydrocarbon-transport systems in light of climate change focuses primarily on the following points:
1. Acquiring more knowledge about the climatic changes that are expected to occur in Colombia, including the change in the major climatic variables and their georeferencing.
2. Diagnosing the transport systems and their spatial correlation with future climate scenarios.
3. Identifying the industries or elements of the infrastructure that are most vulnerable to the expected climatic changes.
4. Proposing measures that will add strength and/or resilience, so that the elements of the system can resist the effects of climate change, or overcome them within a short period of time, without affecting the Business.
5. Prioritizing the interventions to be performed at sites that are critical to the Business.
6. Monitoring and tracking the climatic variables in order to adjust the susceptibility models in light of the major impacts (e.g., landslides).
The primary goal of this paper is to outline the initiative that has been proposed by the Technical Asset Management Bureau [“Gerencia Técnica de Activos”] (GTA) of Ecopetrol’s Office of the Vice President for Transportation and Logistics [“Vicepresidencia de Transporte y Logística”] (VIT Ecopetrol) in order to adapt the currently operating transport systems so that they can deal with climate change, while ensuring their healthful and safe operation, in compliance with the applicable technical legal requirements. Another goal of this paper is to highlight the advances that have been made by the GTA in the procurement, compilation, analysis, and use of climate information and geotechnical data as basic elements of risk management.