Saturday, August 04, 2007
Block 64 -- The Northern Peruvian Amazon
In Peru, declining national oil output has given rise to a wave of new Amazon energy concessions in remote indigenous lands. Located in the Loreto region of the northern Peruvian Amazon, Block 64 encompasses 800,000 hectares of highly biodiverse rainforests and wetlands, home to the Achuar people. The area is listed under the Ramsar Convention as one of the world's most important wetlands.
Oxy Burlington Resources and Occidental Petroleum acquired the rights to the area in 1999 from ARCO. For seven years, the Achuar's unwavering resistance kept ARCO out of the area despite company intimidation of local community leaders. More recently, Occidental Petroleum and Burlington have pressured four indigenous communities on the edges of the Block to agree to oil operations in return for small gifts. The remaining 7,000 affected Achuar people continue to voice their united opposition to any drilling on their lands and have now formed a bi-national Achuar organization to coordinate their defense with the Achuar in Ecuador. Lucas Irare, the President of the Achuar federation of Peru explains, "the Achuar people of Peru will not give even one millimeter of territory for oil activities."