Above: This map shows the different exploration and exploitation blocks leased out by the Peruvian government to the oil companies. Below: A view of the proposed drilling area as seen from satellite images.
The Shipibo expressed their grave concern about the exploitation of Block 114 which is home to dozens of Shipibo and other indigenous communities. Not only are the communities living within the confines of Block 114 worried, but also those downstream because of the expected water contamination from the oil sites.
PanAndean Resources has purchased the rights to Block 114 and is expected to begin drilling in 2008.
Pan Andean Resources is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. Here is an excerpt from their website: “Block 114 located in Central Peru: 1.85 million acres; At least 10 anticline structures identified in Block: Estimated oil resources in block: 400 millions Barrels; API of oil: 30 – 35°; Easy river access to refineries. Exploration commenced Q3 2006. First phase involves reprocessing and interpretation of 500 kilometres of seismic followed by 150 kilometres of new seismic and one well. Technical and environmental work in progress on Rio Caco structure. Drilling up to 3 wells on Rio Caco to be completed by April 2008. Block 114, located in the Ucayali Sub Andean Basin, north of the world-class Camisea gas-condensate field, with proven and probable reserves in the range of 15 TCF of natural gas and 600 million barrels of condensate. Block 114 is located to the south of important oil and gas fields such as Maquia, Aguas Calientes and Aguaytia. The immediate focus will be on confirmation and production drilling of the Rio Caco Structure. Potential recoverable reserves are in the range of 90 million barrels. Production would reach 30,000 barrels per day in 2012. The Work Plan will be to carry out the required Environmental Impact and Technical Evaluation work, in order to be drilling the Rio Caco confirmation well beginning in August-September 2007. Should that well be successful, three additional wells would be drilled as soon as practical and production would be flowing beginning in March-April 2008.”
There is no mention of the thousands of indigenous people that inhabit the region, nor the possible consequences to the health of the world’s largest remaining tropical forest, nor to the world’s largest watershed.
According to Peruvian Law: “The Organic Law for Hydrocarbons, Law N° 26221, was enacted on August 19, 1993, coming into effect on November 18, 1993. Such norm was modified by Law No. 26734 as of December 30 1996, No. 26817 as of June 23, 1997, and Law No. 27343 as of September 01, 2000, No. 27377 as of December 06, and Law No. 27391 as of December 29, 2000. This norm, which is intended to foster the investments in fuel resource exploration and exploitation activities, created PERUPETRO S.A. as a Private Law State Company of the Energy and Mining Sector. Considering such law, the Government promotes the development of Fuel Resource activities based on the free competition and access to the economic activity, guaranteeing the juridical stability of the contracts according to provisions set forth in article 62° of the Constitution of Peru.Likewise, it guarantees the Contractors the stability of the taxation and foreign exchange regimes in force to the date of the signing of the contract.
Law No. 26221 sets that Fuel Resources exploration and exploitation activities will be carried out under the form of License Contracts as well as Service Agreements or other contract modalities authorized by the Ministry of Energy and Mining, and governed by the Private Law, and which after being approved and signed, may only be modified according to a written agreement signed by both parties. Likewise, any modification must be approved by Supreme Decree.” (Source: PeruPetro.com)
However, also according to Article 89 of the Peruvian Constitution:
“Rural and Native Communities are legally recognized and enjoy legal status. They are autonomous in terms of their organization, communal working, use and free disposal of their land, as well as economically and administratively within the framework established by law. Ownership of their land is imprescriptible except in the case of abandonment described in the preceding article. The government respects the cultural identity of the Rural and Native Communities.”
Although indigenous communities are given the legal titles to their land, their is little protection afforded to these communities under Peruvian law against foreign companies contaminating their watersheds and destroying their forests. According to the International Labour Organization’s Convention (No. 169) concerning Indigenous and Tribal peoples in Independent Countries: Article 15 1. The rights of the peoples concerned to the natural resources pertaining to their lands shall be specially safeguarded. These rights include the right of these peoples to participate in the use, management and conservation of these resources. 2. In cases in which the State retains the ownership of mineral or sub-surface resources or rights to other resources pertaining to lands, governments shall establish or maintain procedures through which they shall consult these peoples, with a view to ascertaining whether and to what degree their interests would be prejudiced, before undertaking or permitting any programmes for the exploration or exploitation of such resources pertaining to their lands. The peoples concerned shall wherever possible participate in the benefits of such activities, and shall receive fair compensation for any damages which they may sustain as a result of such activities. For more information about the destruction caused to the environment and indigenous communities by oil companies, check out Amazon Watch and Oilwatch. There are hundreds of resources available on the internet documenting the destruction to the world’s indigenous and other marginalized communities and their environments around the world by oil companies.
No matter how environmentally-friendly these oil companies claim to be, it is impossible to extract oil in such a fragile environment without damaging the ecological integrity of the region.
The Shipibo depend upon their rivers and forests for their subsistence and livelihoods. Their economy, culture, and health depend upon their access to healthy ecosystems.Village Earth is working with communities to help them protect and defend their territories and environments. What can you do to help?
- You can donate to Village Earth’s efforts to help protect indigenous land in the Peruvian Amazon.
- Lessen your dependence on oil and oil-based products. In the global market economy, only when demand for oil drops will drilling cease. Therefore, the future lies in YOUR hands.
- Write to these companies and let them know that you disapprove of drilling for oil on or near indigenous lands in the ecologically-fragile Amazon region:Dr. John Teeling Pan Andean Resources 162, Clontarf Road Dublin 3 Ireland Below: The indigenous people of Masisea are learning to use GPS through a Village Earth initiative, so that they can monitor their lands and borders.