re-peru / amazon / oil

Michael Luftmensch MLuftmensch at
Sat Feb 17 17:49:10 MST 1996

re-peru /amazon /oil

The following post consists of two exerpts  from Peru Oil News. Anyone
interested in Louis Godena's analysis of the source of this information is
advised to read the forward he tacked on to the post about the Ashaninka.

I find it interesting that "the imperialists, as well as their paid pimps in
organizations like AIDESEP and other NGOs" - in the words of Louis Godenas -
are providing much more comprehensive and detailed information on the
machinations of US imperialism in Peru than New Flag.


from PERU OIL NEWS July, 1994 #4

Selling it All From Underneath the Region's Native People
The firesale of exploration and development rights has been accelerated by
the considerable economic incentives offered in Peru's new hydrocarbons
law.  Representatives of Peruvian environmental organizations that
participated in the drafting of the legislation characterize it's
environmental regulations as not "going as far as we wish."  The region's
native peoples have been left out of the process altogether.

In remarks to an oil industry journal in February, Perupetro (the
government agency in charge of negotiating contracts) president Alberto
Bruce said "It's all open for discussion, blocks in the jungle, on the
coast, offshore - we're interested in contract ing it all out."  On July
8, he went on to tell the Financial Times of London "At this rate, we'll
have to buy bits of Brazil and Argentina to satisfy them all" in reference
to the number of oil companies interested in investing in Peru.

Mr. Bruce's enthusiasm is warranted, as production figures rise and the
list of new investors in Peru is already staggering and growing daily.
They include dozens of companies from the USA (too many to list), Canada
(Ranger, Chieftain), France (ELF-Aquitane), the Netherlands (Shell),
Argentina (YPF), Russia, China (Sapet), Spain (Repsol), Mexico (Pemex),
and Venezuela (Amoco subsidiary).

What is not being publicly discussed in business circles is the fact that
the seventy odd blocks in Peru's Amazon contain hundreds of indigenous
villages and tens of thousands of the rainforest's native people who by
and large have not been consulted and have not agreed to their homelands
being subjected to the ravages of the oil industry.

Absolutely no substantial legal provision has been made for indigenous
people and to date companies involved have showed little inclination to
cooperate with them beyond offering low-paying, hazardous jobs on survey
or wildcatting crews.  Claims by an Agu aruna Indian gravely injured while
working for geophysical contractor Halliburton have gone unanswered.
Royal Dutch Shell has recently re-initiated operations in the huge central
jungle Camisea field, where several native laborers were injured and even
killed as a result of accidents during exploration in the mid-1980s.

Some recent contracts signed for jungle operations in native rainforest
areas that bear watching include:

*Royal Dutch Shell in the Camisea field in Cuzco Department
*Mobil Oil E&D activities in 8.5 million hectares of Madre de Dios
*Maple Gas (Dallas) in Aguaytia and other fields near Pucallpa (central)
*Arco or Occidental E&D in Block 54 of the northeast (near the spill site)
*Occidental exploration in another northeastern block, #4.
*ECI (Houston) wildcatting scheduled to begin in Block 50 (northeast)

Petroperu's Privatization
A giant wild card for the future of an ecologically and socially
responsible oil industry is Petroperu's privatization, which is scheduled
for later this year.  Current plans call for the state company to be
broken into eleven components which will be sol d individually, with the
exception of the northern pipeline which will continue under government
ownership but operated by a concession-holder.  In order to enhance
post-privatization competition, a minimum of "crossover" will be permitted
by bidders for Petroperu's parts.  That is, each of the eleven is likely
to go to a different company or group of investors.

In the context of an essentially permissive legal atmosphere with regard
to environmental and social consequences of oil industry activity, who
owns Peru's oil infrastructure and the degree to which they feel obligated
to behave responsibly as a result of non-legal pressures will to a large
extent determine the future of the environment and, unfortunately, many
native peoples of Peru's Amazon.


       Of the approximately 59 million hectares of land (147 million
acres) with potential for new petroleum production in Peru, 49 million -
83 percent - are in the Amazon rainforest.  Peru, at the behest of
multilateral lending agencies (IMF/IADB/ World Bank), has sold the rights
to these areas as fast as possible in recent years in order to earn
foreign exchange to pay international debts.  The payoff may come in terms
of increased production; but at what human and ecological price?

A quick consideration of the facts yields scary answers:

-With Peru's coastal oil reserves depleted and 83% of unexploited lands
located in the Amazon, meeting Petroperu's production goals means at least
a threefold increase in Amazon production.

-The 24 year-old transamazon pipeline that will transport the vast
 80-The 24 year-old transamazon pipeline that will transport the vast
majority of this oil to refining and export centers on the coast is
falling apart while pumping at about 50% capacity.  What is going to
happen when the volume it transports is greatly increased?

- In order to "sweeten the deal" for prospective bidders in Petroperu's
troubled and many times delayed privatization (there already are about 20
foreign oil companies operating in Peru), Petroperu recently initiated
drilling in Lot 8 in the Amazon, an ar ea covering 182,000 hectares.

-Mobil and ELF (France) plan to initiate exploration activities using a
German contractor in the pristine Madre de Dios region of southeastern
Peru in May.  Normal exploration activity entails the clearance of
multiple paths several meters wide through the jungle and the detonation
of a series of dynamite explosions along those paths sufficiently large to
ruin hunting and sometimes fishing for native communities.

- Oil companies continue to operate with complete disregard for the land
rights of those who live in the areas they fancy for oil production.
Mimicking their cohorts in Ecuador, the attitude of oil companies - such
as Houston's Edward Callan Interests - to date is that purchasing drilling
rights from the central government absolves them of any responsibility to
the people whose livelihoods and environment they impact.




INTERNET:  perezoso at

ECONET:     perezoso

AIDESEP (Asociacion Interetnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana):

Avenida San Eugenio 981
Santa Catalina
Lima 13

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