CANADIAN COMPANY ABANDONS OIL BLOCK IN NEW NATIONAL PARK IN PERU

A recent article of mine in The Guardian reports how Canadian oil and gas company Pacific Exploration and Production, headquartered in Toronto, has pulled out of a concession overlapping approximately 40% of the Sierra del Divisor National Park established by Peru in late 2015. The article was picked up by Peruvian media outlet Utero, which has worked up a striking graphic slapping Pacific’s name on top of the park’s most well-known topographical feature, the iconic El Cono, a mountain which can be seen from the Andes on a clear day. The question now is: will Perupetro annul the one million hectare concession, called Lot 135, or will it modify its boundaries to exclude the park, or will it simply contract another company to operate there? Parts of the park are home to indigenous peoples living in “isolation", and two reserves for them were proposed in this region long before the park was ever created. Lawsuits against Perupetro, the Energy Ministry, the Culture Ministry and the state entity running the park, SERNANP, have been filed by indigenous federations ORPIO and AIDESEP.  (04-05-17)

David Hill