LONDON – The exploration proposed to be undertaken by Spanish oil giant Repsol YPF in a remote area of the Peruvian Amazon will affect at least two uncontacted indigenous tribes, the advocacy group Survival said Tuesday.
Survival says Repsol YPF requested authorization from the Peruvian government to open 454 kilometers (282 miles) of seismic lines and build 152 heliports for the projected petroleum operation.
Now, it is up to Peru’s Energy Ministry to decide whether or not to approve the project, Survival says.
The opening of the seismic lines, an important part of oil prospecting, consists of opening roadways through the jungle and detonating explosives at regular intervals.
In the zone where Repsol hopes to be able to work, known as Lot 39, live at least two of the world’s last uncontacted Indian tribes, which could be decimated or dispersed, according to Survival, if they come into contact with the oil company’s workers.
If Repsol finds oil in commercially viable quantities in the region, an oil pipeline – no doubt – will be constructed to transport it from the Amazon to Peru’s Pacific coast.
Perenco, an Anglo-French company which has discovered large crude deposits in the region, is planning to build that pipeline, Survival says.
Lot 39 includes extensive areas of a projected reservation for the as-yet-uncontacted Indians and the indigenous organization AIDESEP has sued the companies that work there.
Survival’s director, Stephen Corry, suggested the presence of oil workers would provoke a fight-or-flight response on the part of the region’s uncontacted Indians.
“Either way, the consequences will be profoundly damaging. Repsol and the Peruvian authorities should know by now that you simply can’t look for oil in rainforest belonging to uncontacted Indians in a safe manner,” Corry said. EFE