The researched made by the main Peruvian human rights organization in Peru, The National Coordinator for Human Rights (CNDDHH) found that between 2000 and 2019, 474 oil spills occurred along the NorPeruano Pipeline in the Peruvian Amazon.
According to the human rights organization “these spills occurred along the NorPeruano Pipeline and in several oil blocks administered by private companies.”
The study also determined that 65% of these spills were caused by the corrosion of oil pipelines and operational failures.
“This conclusion provides an opportunity to reopen the discussion about responsibility for these environmental incidents and the need to remediate thousands of sites impacted by oil spills, which have affected at least 41 Indigenous communities in the Amazon.” Said on its report CNDDHH.
“After every spill, it was said that the responsibility was with the Indigenous communities, but there was no evidence that this was the case,” said Miguel Lévano, the coordinator of a subcommittee on oil spills within the CNDDHH. “It did not make sense, since they are the people being affected.”
The study is based on official data from the Agency for Environmental Assessment and Enforcement (OEFA) and the Supervisory Agency for Investment in Energy and Mining of Peru (OSINERGMIN). It also includes information from a report by Congress’s Multi-Party Investigative Committee that investigated the oil spills that came from the NorPeruano Pipeline.
According to the report, between 2000 and 2019, 189 oil spills were identified in Block 192, formerly known as Block 1AB. Until 2015, the block was managed by Pluspetrol, a company based in Argentina. An additional 155 oil spills occurred in Block 8, which is currently managed by the Argentinean company.
Both oil blocks are located in the territory of Achuar people, they have been affected by oil companies since 1970.
Since the 1970s, the US-based company Occidental Petroleum (“Oxy”) has operated and drilled on Achuar lands in the Corrientes River Basin. According to the NGO Amazon Watch, for over three decades Oxy cut costs by dumping nine billion gallons of “produced waters” directly into rivers. These so-called waters contained dangerous and toxic substances such as barium, lead, and arsenic. Together with hundreds of oil spills, Oxy succeeded in destroying hunting and fishing grounds and leaving the Achuar with severe health problems.