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UN Urges Peru To Halt Oil Talks Until Amazon Recuperates From Old Spills

Oil

Peru should suspend all talks on new oil production ventures in its portion of the Amazon rainforest until previous pollution has been cleaned up, according to a group of United Nations human rights experts.

The Canadian firm Frontera Energy Corporation operates Block 192 and wants to renew its two-year contract to work in the area after a scheduled September expiry.

“The Peruvian Government must suspend the direct negotiations with companies until the right to free, prior and informed consent is guaranteed, and all environmental damage has been remedied,” U.N. Special Rapporteurs Baskut Tuncak and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz said in a statement. The officials’ request will mesh well with protests from aboriginal groups who argue that the government has not enforced a law requiring the inclusion of native groups’ in all oil negotiations.

Frontera did not respond to requests by Reuters for comment by press time.

Block 192 produced 2,565 barrels of oil per day in 2017, far lower than the 10,000-bpd output it had in previous years.

Peru is a modest oil producer, with daily output at 38,290 bpd as of the end of 2016, but it has the third-largest gas reserves in South America, at 426.1 billion cubic meters as of 2014. Oil reserves are estimated at 170 million tons.

Petroperu announced last year that it would restart the operation of its four-decades-old crude oil pipeline, which has caused several major leaks in the Amazon, after completing extensive repairs. The company also said it will seek support from Amazonian communities to help protect the pipeline from further vandalism, which caused 7,000 barrels in spills last year.

Besides the repairs of the pipeline, Petroperu’s plans under the new president also include a US$4.8-billion expansion of the Talara refinery, which is currently in construction.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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