Camisea pipeline leaks in rainforest of Peru
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
March 8, 2006
The Camisea gas pipeline in the Peruvian Amazon has leaked for the fifth time in 18 months according to Reuters. Two people were injured and a small fire was ignited by the spill of 750 cubic meters of gas.
The controversial pipeline is located in the Peru’s Amazon rainforest, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Since it began pumping gas to the capital city of Lima in mid-2004, the pipeline has leaked five times, including a rupture that spilled 6,000 barrels into the jungle last November. The continuing leaks have raised concerns among local communities and triggered a government threat to cancel the pipeline operator’s (Transportadora de Gas del Peru) operating contract.
Pipeline in neighboring Ecuador.
Reuters reports that the project’s major backer, the Inter-American Development Bank, was warned last week by San Diego-based environmental consultancy E-Tech International that the pipeline was “likely to leak at six points because of rusty, badly welded pipes.” E-Tech further noted the pipeline was constructed by unqualified and untrained welders using corroded piping left over from previous projects.
Environmental groups have criticized the $1.6 billion project which runs through a state reserve for indigenous people.
ChevronTexaco, now Chevron Corp, appears to be losing ground in the environmental “Trial of the Century” in Ecuador’s rainforest over Texaco’s operation of a former concession, according to the environmental group Amazon Watch.
Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president, announced a plan to build a massive gas pipeline that would carry natural gas from the oil rich state 5,000 miles south. Environmentalists fear that the project could damage the Amazon rain forest by polluting waterways and creating roads that would attract developers and poor farmers, while analysts question the wisdom and viability of the plan which may cost $20-50 billion depending on who makes the estimate.