Thursday, May 24, 2007

Camisea Protesters Block Road to Quillabamba, Threaten to Take Over Pipeline

Protesters in the province of La Convención have launched an indefinite blockade of the road between the provincial capital of Quillabamba and Cusco, closing access to the town and leaving scores of vehicles stranded. All businesses and public institutions in the Province are closed due the marching of thousands of protesters, led by the provincial mayor and nine district mayors, who are demanding accountability for the pipeline's six spills and benefits for the local population.

On Tuesday, May 22, more than 1,500 residents of Kiteni and Kepashiato peacefully marched to a pumping station at km 125 of the Camisea pipeline, the location of the latest spill, where they were encountered by police and TGP's private security. Community members presented a document to the company, demanding that it pay damages for the spills and that Peru's Energy Minister, Juan Valdivia, visit the region.

The protest was originally planned to last 72 hours, but on May 23, organizers decided to extend the blockade indefinitely until the federal government sends ministers to the region. They also said that they were prepared to take over the pipeline and block access to the tourist destination, Machu Picchu, if the government did not respond.

In addition to demanding accountability for the pipeline spills, protesters are calling for the construction of a pipeline connecting the gas reserves to Quillabamba, the improvement of roads in the region, and the declaration of a state of emergency in the Convention.

More in: La Republica, Andina

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Using Google Earth to See Pipeline Erosion

If you use the free GIS program, Google Earth, you can get a good aerial view of the pipeline right-of-way and the tremendous erosion caused by construction.

Just copy and paste the following sets of lat,long coordinates into the Google Earth search field (one at a time):

12°14'15.13"S, 73° 0'36.96"W

12°12'32.64"S, 73° 0'27.60"W

The above sites are both in the Machiguenga Communal Reserve. The aerial images are from May 2004. Some terracing/erosion control are visible but there are also some blowouts into the watersheds on the side. These images demonstrate how the strategy of building the pipeline along ridgelines affected watersheds on both sides of the divide.

In 2003, I visited the region during pipeline construction with Environmental Defense and Global Village Engineers (GVE). The following is from GVE's report:
In the steepest areas of construction observed there was little, if any attempt at environmentally sound construction. Over the entire portion of pipeline corridor observed (approximately 60 km), during construction there was total clearing of vegetation and topsoil to a depth of approximately 0.5 meters during the 2002 dry season. According to reports from local people, and supported by the absence of any protected stockpiles of such material, the cleared material was stockpiled along the corridor. However, there is currently little or none of this material remaining adjacent to the corridor. Thus, the removed vegetation and soil most likely washed into the nearest watercourse. In addition the construction left soils exposed during the ensuing rainy season and in some areas over two meters of the exposed soils were eroded and washed into the nearest watercourse. The net result of erosion and clearing was washing up to 100 tons of soil and vegetation per meter of pipeline into sensitive aquatic habitat.
It is hard to imagine this not being one of the causes for the dramatic decline in fish stocks reported by Machiguenga communities along the pipeline ROW.

Here are a few other coordinates to check out in Google Earth.

Las Malvinas camp and facility:
11°50'26.07"S, 72°56'49.64"W

Where the Camisea pipeline crosses under the Urubamba River:
11°56'47.85"S, 72°55'27.11"W

Pagoreni Well Platform - Block 56 and road (in the Machiguenga community of Shivankoreni):
11°42'54.59"S, 72°54'1.85"W

Machiguenga Community of Shivankoreni (village center)
11°42'41.38"S, 72°55'43.79"W

Pagoreni B Well Platform - Block 56
11°41'28.45"S, 72°56'56.96"W

San Martin 3 Well Platform (I believe) - Block 88
11°47'8.71"S, 72°42'5.02"W

I'll try to keep posting other coordinates of places of interest in the future.

More on 6th Pipeline Spill

A segment on the program Reporte Semanal on Chanel 2 covers the latest spill, visiting the place where it occurred in Kepashiato. According to TGP, the latest spill amounted to 36 gallons, while the regional government has reported a loss of 4,000 barrels. The reporter visited colonist and Machiguenga communities where there found that people do not know what to do in the case of a pipeline spill. He also interviewed community members who reported that fish stocks have virtually disappeared since the project began, a claim that TGP denies. Bill Powers, an engineer with E-Tech International was also interviewed in the segment in which he voices serious concerns with the quality of the pipeline welds, stating that the 1st and 2nd pipeline ruptures were weld-related, the 3rd caused by soil movement, and the data on the 4th and 5th spills has not yet been released by OSINERG. TGP maintains that none of the spills were the result of improper welding or poor quality pipe.
Video of the segment (in Spanish).

An article on the new spill in Caretas, describes a tense situation in the community of Kepashiato, in which TGP snuck the damaged piece of pipe away to Lima in a helicopter, despite the protests of community members demanding an investigation.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

USAID Report to Congress Links PeruLNG to Camisea I

A report obtained by Oxfam America through the Freedom of Information Act submitted by USAID to Congress reveals that agency's concerns with the Camisea Natural Gas Project and links it directly to the development of PeruLNG aka Camisea II.

USAID must report on the project because US tax dollars contributed to the $75 million IDB loan granted to the downstream (pipeline) portion of the project.

Under the Pelosi Amendment (Section 1307 (a)(1) of the International Development and Finance Act of 1989), the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for the fractionation plant and marine terminal were not completed and publicly available 120 days before the IDB's vote, thus USAID recommended to the Secretary of Treasury and US Executive Director on the IDB Board "not to vote in favor of the proposed Camisea Natural Gas Project."

USAID's analysis, "revealed substantial adverse environmental and social impacts involving biodiversity and indigenous peoples that needed to be remedied." It also found that not all of the IDB's loan conditions regarding environmental and social commitments of the project were fulfilled prior to financial closure on the loan.

The report describes the LNG export component of the project as including the construction and operation of an LNG liquefaction facility and marine export terminal in Pampa Melchorita on the coast, a 408 km, 34" diameter, pipeline extending from Chinquintirca, Ayacucho to the coastal plant (we now know that this new pipeline will most likely extend all the way to the Lower Urubamba in the Amazon), and the development of new gas wells in Block 56, adjacent to the Block 88. Six (or more?) wells are planned to tap the Pagoreni Reserves of 3.5 trillion cubic feet of gas in Block 56.

The proposed financing of the LNG export component is the following: $700 million from Export Credit Agencies, $400 million "A" loan and $400 million "B" loan from the IDB (the IDB signed a mandate letter in July 2006 formally beginning the project appraisal process), and $300 million from local capital markets. Project sponsors will contribute $1.6 billion.

According to its report to Congress, "USAID considers the LNG project as an expansion of the Camisea Natural Gas Project." This means that in considering loans to PeruLNG, the US government will revisit the environmental and social concerns raised in the first IDB Camisea loan and evaluate fulfillment of the conditions of that loan (something that the IDB has not done since June 2004).

Under the Pelosi Amendment, the US government's environmental assessment of the project must include associated and cumulative impacts, in this case the existing Camisea project including the pipeline and activities in Block 88.

Brief: IFC to Consider Financing Camisea II

Sources recently reported that the Policy Committee of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, has given the lender a green-light to consider financing Hunt Oil for Peru LNG or Camisea II. The IFC has a performance standard on indigenous peoples. The upcoming project approval process should be interesting to watch.

Defensoria del Pueblo: Perupetro Must Coordinate with INRENA and INDEPA on New Blocks

A March 20, 2007 report by the office of Peru's Public Ombudsperson (Defensoria del Pueblo) analyzes the overlap of Peru's 18 new hydrocarbon exploration concessions with Natural Protected Areas, Protected Area Buffer Zones, Reserve Zones (a transitional protection status), and existing and proposed Territorial Reserves for indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation. The report cites date from civil society organizations that one Block, 131 overlaps with a protected area (El Sira Communal Reserve); six blocks (130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 136, and 140) overlap buffer zones; four of the blocks (135, 137, 138, and 139) overlap the Sierra del Divisor Reserve Zone; four blocks (132, 133, 138, and 139) overlap Territorial Reserves for indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation; and four blocks (135, 136, 137, and 139) overlap proposed Territorial Reserves.

The report found considerable disagreement between the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), Perupetro - the state company that promotes hydrocarbon exploration - and Peru's natural resource agency (INRENA) in their interpretation of the law. MEM and Perupetro claim that INRENA only needs to be consulted when the contracting company submits an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for exploration in the protected area, but does not need to be involved in the designation of hydrocarbon exploration blocks. The Defensoria's report concludes that the government must obtain a technical opinion from INRENA before it auctions off blocks in protected areas and that INDEPA should be consulted on blocks that overlap with Territorial Reserves for isolated peoples.

In an interview on "Mesa Central" on Chanel 7, Perupetro President, Daniel Saba (pictured), tried to discredit the Ombudsperson's report, questioning the organization's motives. He claimed that INRENA's only role in the process of hydrocarbon development in protected areas was to review the EIS submitted by the company and then went on to deny the existence of indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation in the Peruvian Amazon. Saba dismissed evidence of the existence of isolated peoples saying that it was invented by an anthropologist who now works at the World Bank. (Ironically, the person in question, Alonso Zarzar, was head of community relations in the 1990's for Shell in Camisea and spent much of his time trying to disprove the existence of isolated peoples in the Nahua-Kugapakori Territorial Reserve in order to justify Shell's drilling there.) Saba then announced that Perupetro would do its own study to show that isolated peoples do not exist.

Link to the interview with Perupetro's Daniel Saba.
Related: Peru's New Petroleum Concession Map Covers Most of Amazon