Indigenous communities in Peru occupied 14 oil wells, paralyzing South American energy firm Pluspetrol’s production, in a protest to demand better compensation for the use of their land.
Some 380 members of the Achuar community took control of the facilities in Peru’s northern Amazon region of Loreto Monday, halting the production of some 3,100 barrels of crude oil. Pluspetrol said in a statement that the protesters also seized eight boats on the Tigre River, including two that provided supplies for the company.
Pluspetrol has been operating in Loreto in block 1-AB since 2001 and has been the target of many indigenous protests in the last few years, demanding both compensation for land exploitation and the cleanup of contamination from spilled crude oil.
Carlos Sandi, president of local indigenous and environmentalist group Feconaco, said the community was demanding better compensation for the exploitation of their land, including the installation of an industrial sawmill and the development of a community-run enterprise to help create jobs for the locals in the area.
“They have taken their measures of protest and are waiting for dialogue to resolve this as soon as possible,” Sandi told Reuters.
However, there seems little chance of a dialogue since, according to Pluspetrol, the community should not receive compensation because it is not within the area of direct influence of oil operations.
Its contract on the lot expires in August, while the government has not announced a new bid date for the rights to continue developing on the block.