By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
2 September 2015
(Common Dreams) – Demanding reparations for industrial pollution and adequate compensation for use of native lands, Indigenous activists in Peru shut down 11 wells in an Amazonian oil block on Tuesday.
According to the Spanish EFE news agency, native protesters led by the Federation of the Achuar and Urarina Indigenous Peoples of the Corrientes River (FECONACO) occupied 11 oil installations and seized control of the Trompeteros airport and three storage tanks in Lot 8, which is operated by Argentine energy firm Pluspetrol.
The protesters want clean water, compensation for oil pollution, and more pay for the use of native land, said Carlos Sandi, FECONACO chief.
Reporting in February for Fusion, journalist Manuel Rueda wrote:
Over the past 15 years, dozens of villages located near oil wells in the Northwest of Peru have had to deal with similar oil spills that have poisoned rivers with dangerous levels of cadmium, lead, and other toxic materials.
Pollution along the Marañon, Tigre, Corrientes, and Pastaza rivers has reached such levels of toxicity that Peru’s Environment Ministry has declared all of them environmental emergency zones over the past two years.
"Many of our brothers have already died from poisoning," Carlos Sandi, a leader of the Achuar tribe said during a recent visit to the capital city to meet with government officials. "In the 21st century, we cannot allow the Peruvian state to condemn indigenous people to death."
Lot 8 is located in Peru's northern region of Loreto, near Lot 192—the nation's largest oil block.
Sandi told Reuters that the Achuar in and around Lot 192 would soon seize wells there following a dispute with the government over a failure to provide sufficient proceeds for communities in a new contract awarded to Canada's Pacific Exploration and Production Corporation. [more]
2 September 2015 (EFE) – A group of Peruvian Indians opposed to private oil production in the northern Amazon region of Loreto halted output at 11 wells and seized an airport on the eve of a planned 48-hour regional strike.
The indigenous communities led by the Federation of the Achuar and Urarina Indigenous Peoples of the Corrientes River on Tuesday occupied several oil installations at Lot 8, which is located near Lot 192, the nation's largest oil block and the focus of the protest, Argentine energy firm Pluspetrol said in a statement.
Pluspetrol, whose concession for Lot 192 expired last weekend, is the operator of Lot 8.
The Indians halted crude output at 11 wells at Pluspetrol's Pavayacu field and seized control of the Trompeteros airport and three storage tanks, the company said.
Those protest measures came a day before a planned regional strike on Wednesday and Thursday by the broad-based Patriotic Front of Loreto and the CGTP labor federation to protest the government's decision to directly award Lot 192 to Canada's Pacific Stratus Energy, a unit of Toronto-based Pacific Rubiales Energy, for two years.
The protesters are demanding that that oil block be awarded to domestic oil company Petroperu.
The national government, however, says Petroperu lacks the technical and economic capacity to operate the field because its efforts are now focused on expanding and modernizing the Talara refinery.
Fernando Chuje, president of an indigenous federation known as Feconat, said Monday in Iquitos, Loreto's capital, that the Kichwa community is "very upset about the government's decision" and will never accept Pacific "because it has a bad track record in Colombia." [more]
Five points that you must know to understand the conflict over the lot 192
[Translation by Bing Translator] 2 September 2015 (La Republica) – In a recent interview the President Ollanta Humala Tasso said its management was "forced" to sign a contract of temporary tender for the lot 192 with the Canadian Pacific Stratus Energy and that Congress could avoid this. Was it really so? Why Petroperu avoided participating in exploitation? LaRepublica.pe answers to all these questions in this special note.
1. A history of pollution
Located in the District of Andoas in Loreto region in the Maranon basin, the lot 192 (formerly known as Lote 1AB) has 290 thousand hectares. With a production of 13 thousand barrels per day and reserves tested for up to 20 years, the lot 192 is the Peru's largest oil reserve. But it is also one of the most polluting.
From the Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY) won the tender to exploit this area in 1970 there have been all kinds of polluting practices in the surrounding watersheds, which never were remediated by the company. The situation did not change too much with the arrival of Pluspetrol to grant. In 2012 this Argentine company was fined by 11.3 million dollars and another in November 2013 for 20 million Suns.
Thus, with a background of years of environmental problems and conflicts with residents of various ethnic groups in the area, the concession of Pluspetrol contract expires on Aug. 29.
2. A questionable tender
Only three months of concluding the bid for Pluspetrol, the State convened a public tender for the concession of the lot 192, whose assets are valued at 345 million dollars (as this lot is owned by Petroperu, the State-owned company would not be obliged to perform this disbursement).
Although companies Perenco's Peru Petroleum Limited, Branch Office of the Peru, Pluspetrol Norte S.A and Pacific Stratus Energy del Peru S.A.., were qualified and enabled, no submitted a proposal so the competition has been declared desert on 4 August 2015.
Faced with this situation, Perupetro convened a direct negotiation with the same participants and the Colombian company Omega, based on article 11 of the organic law of hydrocarbons. But neither Pluspetrol nor Perenco were interested in participating, while that Omega did not comply with the requirements.
Thus, only remained to begin the negotiations to obtain the concession of the lot 192, Pacific Stratus Energy (PSE) but first Perupetro should consult with Petroperú for possible participation in society with the PSE company.
3. The Petroperu padlock
After making an assessment of the legal, technical and financial, Petroperu communicates its decision to abstain from the bidding process. The main argument is that exploit the lot 192 would be "taking a very high risk that would end up generating losses". In other words, it would not be a profitable business.
But this is not the only reason that wields the directory of the State oil company to reject the offer.
Even if they wanted that Petroperu participate, 30130 law would prevent it. This law, promoted by the former Minister of economy, Luis Castilla, and former Minister of energy and mines, Jorge Merino; prioritize the use of resources in the modernization of Talara refinery, with an investment of more than 3 500 million dollars. You can read the content of this law in the following link.
Thus, PSE had paved road for win the bidding for this important batch without the participation of Petroperu. This concession was ratified by resolution Ministerial N ° 027-2015-EM, promulgated by President Ollanta Humala Tasso. [more]