Monday, August 11, 2008

Indigenous Protesters Shut Down Urubamba, Take Over Wells

August 9th was the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples as recognized by the United Nations. Despite last year’s adoption of the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights, indigenous peoples continue to face discrimination and violation of their rights. In the Peruvian Amazon, indigenous peoples marked the day with the launch of a nation-wide protest against recent government policies that threaten their communal land rights.

One of the policies in question is Legislative Decree 1015, signed on May 20 by President Alan García which allows communally owned indigenous lands to be sold to private investors with the vote of a simple majority of the communal assembly. It also applies to granting permission of oil and mining activity on indigenous lands. This undermines the collective nature of indigenous territorial rights in Peru. The law is part of a series of legislative changes made in relation to implementing Peru’s Free Trade Agreement with the US.

On August 9th, Machiguenga along the Urubamba River shut off transportation in the upper and lower stretches and their organization, COMARU announced that they had shut off all road and river transport leading to the Camisea project and detained boats delivering fuel.

According to Diario el Sol in Cusco, 150 Machiguenga peacefully took over the Pagoreni A and B platforms in Block 56 this morning and shut down the heliports. Additionally, Leonidas Arroyo, President of the Lower Urubamba Management Committee (Comité de Gestión del Bajo Urubamba) and vice president of the community of Camisea warned that the communities would close down the pipeline and occupy the Malvinas processing plant.

Roads have been blocked in other parts of the Amazon as well. Indigenous Peruvians haven taken over the installations of state oil company, Petroperu in the northern Department of Loreto and thousands have taken over the Aramango hydroelectric plant near Muyo, Dept. of Amazonas, cutting off power to some of the surrounding area . The armed forces have apparently been sent in.

Through the national indigenous organization, AIDESEP, the protesters have demanding negotiations with the President, Prime Minister, and head of Congress.

Articles in Peruvian press (Spanish):
La Republica , El Comercio

Friday, February 29, 2008

Lo Que No Se Dice de los Contratos de Camisea

Nota de Prensa

Lo Que No Se Dice de Los Contratos de Camisea

  • No se dice que el contrato de Camisea que se cuestiona hoy, NO es el contrato original que firmó el Ing. Carlos Herrera Descalzi cuando fue Ministro.
  • No se dice que ese contrato original, firmado durante el Gobierno de Transición por Herrera Descalzi, SÍ protegía a los peruanos asegurando su demanda interna de gas por 20 años renovables.
  • No se dice el contrato original fue cambiado en el régimen posterior, para beneficiar a Hunt Oil, permitiéndole tener la potestad de decidir la exportación de cualquier gas habido o por hallar y quitándole la seguridad energética del mercado interno.
  • No se dice que cuando se produjeron esas modificaciones en perjuicio de los peruanos, Hunt Oil no se quejó de que 'le cambiaran las reglas de juego'.
  • Tampoco se dice que la modificación del contrato original, que ahora pretende consignarse como 'error', esconde una serie de 'equivocaciones' sistemáticas que no tienen sustento lógico, por lo que DEBE investigarse para dilucidar si existieron 'incentivos' para lograr estas modificaciones perjudiciales a los peruanos.
  • Tampoco se dice que, cada vez que un funcionario público sale a anunciar mayores reservas, éstas no tienen un real sustento pues no han sido certificadas.
  • El gobierno tiene la obligación de garantizarnos, y nosotros los peruanos el derecho de exigir, QUE SE REGRESE AL CONTRATO ORIGINAL DE CAMISEA, cuyas modificaciones SÍ fueron y son un atentado a la estabilidad jurídica y seguridad energética del Perú.

Lima, 29 de Febrero de 2008

Ex Ministro de Energía y Decano del Colegio de Ingenieros del Perú

Monday, December 17, 2007

Does It Make Sense to Export Camisea Gas?

With the IDB on the verge this week to make a decision to finance Camisea II, the export phase of the Camisea project, aka Peru LNG, an article in today's El Comercio reports that it could be a grave economic error for Peru to export its gas. According to an analysis by Glen Jenkins of Environmental Defense, at current oil prices, it would be more cost effective for Peru to secure its internal hydrocarbon demand for the next 33 years than to export the gas and have to import fuel in the future. In other words, Peru is paying a high opportunity cost by exporting fuel that it will eventually need.

The Camisea blocks 88 and 56 together contain an estimate 10.9 trillion cubic feet of gas. Of this, 4.2 trillion TCF is destined for export by Peru LNG. The Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines calculates Peru's future demand for gas to be 6.6 TCF and a large portion of the energy, industrial, and transportation sectors are making costly conversions to function on gas. The initial contracts for the exploitation of the Camisea gas required that export would be permitted only if domestic demand was permanently assured for a 20-year outlook, however this provision was conveniently changed to a fixed 20-year period (2005-2025) during a renegotiation between the Toledo administration and Pluspetrol. Now the Peruvian government's answer to meeting the future domestic demand for gas is simple if uncertain: discover more.

With over a billion in public financing for Camisea II pending from the IDB, IFC, and ExIm Bank, it is clear that the real beneficiary will be Hunt Oil which controls 50% of Peru LNG. What is less clear is how the project will ultimately benefit the Peruvian economy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Report of Pipeline Spill in Chillinga, Ayacucho

Peru's Coordinadora Nacional de Radio is reporting a new break in the Camisea pipeline occurring Tuesday morning in the La Mar province of Ayacucho. Authorities from the community of Chillinga, 40 km from the District of San Miguel claim that the rupture has caused the spill of "a large amount of hydrocarbons."

A recent technical audit of the pipeline's integrity was recently completed by the company Germanischer Lloyd, which found that the contract between the government and pipeline consortium, TGP, did not allow for adequate analysis of the terrain and that the pipeline was insufficiently designed and welded. The audit found that proper geological studies would have taken 2-3 years to complete and that TGP dedicated only 2-3 months to this work.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Listen to the Human Rights Hearing on Isolated Peoples

Here's a link to the audio recording of today's hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. (The vast majority of the audio is in Spanish.)

The hearing was regarding three petitions submitted to the Commission related to the situation of indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation in Peru – Precautionary Measures 102/07 on the Kugpakori Nahua Nanti and others affected by Block 88 (Camisea Project), 262/05 on the Mashco Piro, Yora and Arahuaca in the Madre de Dios Territorial Reserve, and 129/07 on the Tagaeri, Taromenane and others in the proposed Napo-Tigre Territorial Reserve (Blocks 67 and 39).

Presentations in were made by representatives from organizations that submitted the petitions: AIDESEP (Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana) and FENAMAD (Federación Nativa de Madre de Diós). The Peruvian government's position was also presented, primarily by a member of the Ministry of Energy and Mines as well as by the head of the pro-oil indigenous organization, CONAP (Confederación de Nacionalidades Amazónicas del Peru).

Link to Audio:

Monday, October 01, 2007

How Not to Contact Isolated Peoples: Repsol and Barrett Take a Page from Camisea

Survival International reports that the oil companies Barrett Resources (US) and Repsol YPF (Spain), have instructed their oil workers to shout through megaphones in the event that they come across uncontacted tribes in the Peruvian Amazon. Both companies have leased exploration blocks in regions where indigenous peoples are living in voluntary isolation. Barrett is operating in Block 67 on the border with Ecuador. Repsol operates the neighboring Block 39 as well as Block 57 in the Lower Urubamba. (It also has an indirect role in Camisea Blocks 88 and 56).

The "Megaphone Policy" for dealing with isolated indigenous peoples is remarkably similar to the Program for Protection and Defense of Voluntarily Isolated Peoples in the Nahua-Kugapari Reserve that was developed for Block 88 by Peru's Technical Coordinating Group for Camisea (GTCI) and the now defunct National Commission of Andean Amazonian and Afroperuvian Peoples (CONAPA). A product of the IDB's $5 million public sector institutional strengthening loan to the Peruvian government, the Program was thoroughly criticized by indigenous peoples' and human rights organizations, although never improved.

The Program, developed in 2003, advocates the use of megaphones, whistles, and flare guns (p. 75) if workers come across native peoples. Even the odd phrases that Barrett Oil workers are instructed to somehow communicate to people who do not understand their language are lifted verbatim from the Camisea Program:
‘How many days (moons or suns) have you walked for?’, ‘We are people just like you’, ‘Is something disturbing you?’ and ‘We haven’t come here to look for women, we have our own women in our own village.’(pp. 88 and 91)
Though severely lacking in advice on such matters as how to deal with a disease epidemic among an immunologically vulnerable population, the Program does not overlook the most obvious question one might ask of indigenous Amazonians who have just stumbled across an uninvited industrial project in their territory: "Is there something bothering you?" -p. 91.

The IDB deserves some blame for accepting this sort of hack contingency planning as satisfying its loan conditions for the Camisea project. Instead of strengthening Peru's policies to protect isolated peoples from contact by oil and gas projects, it has supported the creation of a set of irresponsible standards that are now being adopted by other companies and used as further justification for invading these peoples' lands.

Friday, September 28, 2007

InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights to Hold Hearing on Isolated Peoples in Peru

On August 7, 2007, the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States adopted Precautionary Measure 102-07 requiring the Peruvian government to provide information about its efforts to protect the rights of indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation and initial contact that inhabit the Nahua, Kugapakori, and Nanti Territorial Reserve, affected by the Camisea Project. The IACHR called on Peru to provide information about the activities occurring in Block 88 and their possible impact on the life, personal integrity, health, environment, and culture of the communities within the Territorial Reserve. It also asked the Peruvian government to describe the actions taken to comply with the recommendations of the Reports # 101 and 103 of Peru's Defensoría del Pueblo (ombudsperson's office).

The precautionary measures stem from a petition by AIDESEP for the IACHR to intervene to protect the rights of the indigenous peoples in the Nahua, Kugapakori, and Nanti Territorial Reserve as well as the proposed Napo-Tigre Territorial Reserve in Loreto.

A hearing regarding these measures is scheduled for October 12, 2007 at the IACHR in Washington.
Servindi post (in Spanish)

New Report Finds Camisea Fails IDB and IFC Standards

The September 2007 report, Holding the IDB and IFC to account on Camisea II, is available for download from Amazon Watch. The report, by anthropologist, Tom Griffiths, highlights some of the major environmental and social problems of Camisea I and II and concludes that the Camisea consortium's community engagement in Block 56 has violated international standards on protecting the rights of indigenous peoples and fails to the meet the performance standards of the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), both of which currently considering financing Camisea II.

Among the problems with Camisea II outlined in the report are:
1) A flawed and deficient Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for operations in Block 56.
2) A community consultation process on the Block 56 EIA that threatened confused and dissatisfied communities into signing their approval.
3) Evidence that prior consent and prior consultation rights were not fully respected by the Ministry of Energy and Mines and Perupetro when it sold exploitation rights to Block 56, questioning the legality of the sale.
4) Failure to address potential impacts of Block 56 exploration and development on isolated indigenous peoples.

The report states that the IDB must delay its decision on financing Camisea II until it first addressed project non-compliance issues with respect to its financing of Camisea I and ensure that ascertain that the project fully complies with IDB policies, including protections for indigenous peoples’ established under ILO Convention 169 and the Inter-American human rights system.

It urges the IFC to include the “associated facilities” of Blocks 56 and 88 in its due diligence; conduct its own social and environmental audit as required under its Performance Standards; and ensure public consultation in Peru and internationally before proceeding with the project.

This is a very good document, in particular for understanding how indigenous communities were railroaded into signing off on the Block 56 EIA in early 2005. Good work, Tom.

Community Members Sickened by Gas in Lower Urubamba

On September 10th the native community Chocoriari and the Tupac Amaru colonist settlement reported cases of community members being sickened by a supposed gas escape at km 12.100 of the Camisea pipeline. Four people were stricken with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and three were taken away for medical attention. Community members claim that this was cased by a new pipeline spill. TGP responded saying that it was caused by a normal release of one of the pipeline valves. Rafael Guarderas, TGP's Manager of Institutional Relations, instilled confidence with the statement, "It is a small balloon of gas and the valve is several kilometers away. There is a family within 300 meters, but the rest is desolate jungle."
More in Andina and CPN Radio Peru.