Hundreds of Indigenous Shipibo Occupy Maple Energy Oil Wells in Peru
September 11, 2012 | Gregor MacLennan
Over 400 indigenous Shipibo from the village Canaan de Cachiyacu have taken control of nine oil wells operated by Maple Energy in Ucayali province in the Peruvian Amazon. The Shipibo are demanding a solution to the ongoing contamination and related health problems caused by oil drilling by Maple Energy in Blocks 31-B and neighboring 31-E.
An Earth Rights International report documented the extent of contamination and health problems in the villages of Canaan and neighboring Nuevo Sucre back in 2005. In 2010 the communities filed a complaint with the International Finance Corporation (“IFC”) – part of the World Bank Group and one of Maple Energy's investors – alleging human rights and environmental violations. However, negotiations to resolve the complaint broke down after Maple Energy refused to provide health care for people made sick by a recent spill or to even support the costs of studies to measure the levels of contamination and health problems.
In September 2011 a government investigative commission confirmed the ongoing contamination and related health problems from Maple Energy's operations in Blocks 31-B and 31-E. The commission also noted Maple's failure to properly clean up six spills over a three-year period from 2008 to 2011.
Government representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of the Environment are scheduled to visit the community this Thursday September 13th in an attempt to resolve the conflict.
Maple Energy took over aging pipelines and wells in Block 31-B from the state-run company PetroPeru in 1994. The company began operations in Block 31-E in 2001. Oil wells and pipelines from Block 31-B run through the 1,200 person Shipibo community of Canaán de Cachiyacu, along the Rio Ucayali in Loreto, Peru. Block 31-E directly impacts the 300-person community of Nuevo Sucre. Maple Energy's operations began in both locations without consultation with the community and without proper environmental or social impact assessment.
Maple Energy is registered in Dublin, Ireland and listed on the London and Lima stock exchanges. They have offices in Lima and Dallas, Texas.
For more information about Maple Energy's operations in Peru visit Accountability Counsel.