LIMA – The government of Peru has offered indigenous communities living in the area of the country’s most productive oilfield a chance to share in the revenues through a trust fund managed by the local population.
Energy and Mines Minister Rosa Maria Ortiz submitted the proposal last week to leaders of 25 indigenous communities organized in four federations.
The government is consulting with the indigenous representatives on the terms of operations in Lot 192, located in the Amazonian region of Loreto.
Argentine firm Pluspetrol has held the operating concession since 2001 under a contract that expires at the end of this month.
The trust fund is the alternative presented by the government in response to the indigenous communities’ demand for a mechanism to directly channel oil revenues to them.
Lima says its plan would generate $1 billion for the communities over the course of 30 years.
While two of the indigenous federations expressed agreement with the government’s proposal, the other two were unhappy over the amount of time they were being given to evaluate the offer.
State-owned Perupetro abandoned the process of awarding the Lot 192 concession after none of the three qualified bidders – Pluspetrol, the Anglo-French Perenco and Canada’s Pacific Rubiales – submitted a bid.
Lot 192 produces roughly 11,000 barrels per day, 17 percent of Peru total’s crude oil output.
Indigenous communities have repeatedly accused Pluspetrol of causing environmental damage and of failing to compensate residents for use of their lands.