Plans to search for gas in one of Peru’s most important protected areas have been clouded in secrecy. But the leak exposes Pluspetrol’s intentions to work in both an uncontacted tribes’ reserve and the world-famous Manu national park.
The leaked report, written by environmental agency Quartz Services S.A. unveils Pluspetrol’s hopes to expand operations beyond its current ‘block 88’ into an area that has been dubbed ‘Fitzcarrald.’ Block 88 is already one of the biggest natural gas projects in the Amazon, known as the Camisea project.
Quartz’s report states its mission ’will contribute not only to the continuity of activity on Block 88, but also to the development of the protected Manu National Park.’
On several occasions, Survival has written to the Peruvian government and gas companies requesting information on the block, but has been told that no concrete exploration plans existed.
Fitzcarrald would cut the Nahua-Nanti reserve for isolated and uncontacted Indians in half and encroach into the Manu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for a biological diversity that ‘exceeds any other place on Earth.’
In 2011 a team of investigators employed by Pluspetrol were discovered by Nahua Indians carrying out studies in an area outside Pluspetrol’s concession.
Initially the Indians asked workers to leave their ancestral land, but they were later allowed to continue their work after the company offered gifts to members of the tribe.
Any oil or gas work in the protected area is illegal following a 2003 Supreme Decree that prohibits the expansion of the Camisea gas project within the Nahua-Nanti reserve.
Uncontacted tribes are extremely vulnerable to contact with outsiders, as they risk being exposed to diseases to which they have little or no immunity.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Pluspetrol are fully aware that their exploration plans are illegal. They will also know that trespassing on Indian land brings death and disease to the uncontacted inhabitants. If this project is allowed to continue, Pluspetrol could be responsible for the destruction of entire peoples. Why is the Peruvian government allowing a foreign company to ride roughshod over its law and jeopardize the survival of its own citizens?’
Pluspetrol in Peru – from environmental pollution to tax dodging?
By TJAADMIN | Published: NOVEMBER 19, 2011
The oil industry in Peru has a chequered record. In a case at present going through the US courts, one industry giant is accused over a 30-year period of contaminating the rivers and lands of the indigenous Achuar communities – causing death, widespread poisoning and destroying their way of life.
Another company operating in the same part of Peru, Pluspetrol, has placed rather more emphasis on community relations – setting up projects to improve health and nutrition for children, households and communities. Its aim is to reduce or eliminate social risks that may lead to violence or put its business activities at risk. However, even in the case of a company apparently taking corporate social responsibility seriously, it is not easy to determine who owns the company.
When local campaigners started to research the company, they found out that Pluspetrol moved its head office from Argentinab to the Netherlands in 2000.They found the official documents that showed the company structure in databases rather than through publicly available sources, because Pluspetrol’s website did not provide the information.
Because Pluspetrol does not have operations (production or sales) in the Netherlands, the campaigners wondered why the company would locate its head office there and turned to the Dutch Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) to find out more.