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Oil spill in Peruvian Amazon

Feb 25

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25/02/2016 12:40  RssIcon

Crude oil spills into Amazonian region from Petroperu pipeline

The BBC News website has reported that at least 3,000 barrels of crude oil had been spilled in an Amazonian region after leaks from Peru's main oil pipeline, owned by state-owned Petroperu. 

According to the report, the government and indigenous leaders have said that the oil has polluted two rivers that at least eight indigenous communities rely on for water.

Petroperu has promised a full clean-up and is also providing food and water.

The company said the first leak was triggered by a landslide but the cause of the second rupture was unclear.

Image of peru river

Amazon River, Morona Peru. Photo credit: Flickr


Indigenous communities affected 

The government's environment watchdog, OEFA, states that the oil has poured into the Chiriaco and Morona rivers in northwestern Peru. The spill has affected the Achuar community and heavy rains have hampered efforts to contain it, local indigenous leader Edwin Montenegro said.

OEFA officials say Petroperu could face fines of up to $17m (£12m) if the spills are found to have affected local people's health.

In a statement, OEFA said the spills were "not isolated cases" and ordered the company to replace parts of the pipeline and improve maintenance.

Response from Petroperu

Petroperu president German Velasquez denies reports the company has paid children to clean up the thick sludge.

However, Mr Velasquez said he is considering firing four company officials, one of whom may have allowed children to collect oil.

The company is evaluating the 1970s-built pipeline to prevent future spills, he said. The leaks have stopped the transportation of up to 6,000 barrels of oil a day. 


Further Reading: See our environmental features section. 


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