In the last five years, more than 20 spills from Petroperú’s Northern Peruvian Pipeline have taken a toll on the health of indigenous communities.
This is the pipeline’s fourth spill in 2016 alone.
A spill in June, which took place after the government ordered Petroperú to cease pumping crude through the pipeline, led the company’s president and board chairman to resign and the Environmental Prosecutor’s office to open criminal proceedings against him.
A new oil spill was reported Wednesday morning in the Peruvian Amazon. It is the fourth oil spill reported this year due to failures in the Northern Peruvian Pipeline, which is managed by the state-run company Petroperú.
Villagers from the indigenous community of Uchichiangos noticed the new leak at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, according to a spokesman from the municipality of Condorcanqui. The spill is located in the Nieva district of Condorcanqui province in the Amazonas region of northwestern Peru.
Petroperú confirmed the new oil spill and specified its location in a statement on Wednesday. According to the company, an emergency response team was already in the area executing a contingency plan.
Condorcanqui municipality personnel shot the images published in this article on the morning of the spill. They show Petroperú employees addressing this new environmental emergency. The statement from Petroperú pointed out that in addition to emergency response efforts by Petroperú employees, “the specialized services of the international company Lamor are also available.”
In addition to being the fourth oil spill from the pipeline into the Peruvian Amazon this year, it is the pipeline’s twenty-fifth spill during the last five years. In February, due to the constant infrastructure failure, the Supervising Office for Investment in Energy and Mining (Osinergmin) forbade Petroperú to continue pumping crude through the pipeline.
In spite of the prohibition, a new spill occurred in June. As a result, Peru’s Environment Minister denounced Petroperú and the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office opened criminal proceedings against the company’s president and board chairman, Germán Velazquez, who was compelled to resign on June 30.
Pending remediation work
Four indigenous leaders from the Amazon region of Loreto recently filed an injunction before the Mixed Jurisdiction Court of Nauta province seeking the immediate remediation of environmental damage caused by an oil spill from the same pipeline that took place two years ago in the native community of Cuninico. They also seek medical attention, the provisioning of safe food and water, and a program of epidemiological and environmental monitoring for indigenous communities affected by the spills.
The leaders criticized the work of the company Lamor, which was involved in remediating the Cuninico spill and is currently assisting Petroperú with the response to the latest spill in Amazonas.
“The community doesn’t want [the company Lamor] anymore because they haven’t done their work well. If they did it poorly the first time, the second time it will be worse,” said Alfonzo López, president of the Cocama Association for Development and Conservation San Pablo de Tipishca, according to Mongabay Latam.