Business Leaders Urge Peru to Boost Security After Shining Path Attack

Business leaders are urging President Ollanta Humala’s government to boost security in south-central Peru to protect energy infrastructure, following an attack by Shining Path remnants on Saturday.

Ricardo Briceño, former president of the business association Confiep and of the National Mining, Oil and Energy Society (SNMPE), said in an interview with Radioprogramas that the state has an obligation to all Peruvians as well as to companies.

A group of Shining Path remnants set fire to three helicopters on Saturday at a small airport in the town of Kiteni, in Peru’s southern Cusco region. The helicopters provide transport services to the companies in charge of maintenance to the pipeline that moves gas from the Camisea gas fields in the Madre de Dios jungle to Peru’s coast.

The operator of the pipeline, Transportadora de Gas del Peru, TGP, said after the attack that it was suspending maintenance on the infrastructure due to the security concerns. It also said the attack created risks for the supply of gas to the Peruvian coast, where it is used to generate electricity for industries and a growing percentage of the population.

Earlier in the year, a pipeline maintenance crew, working for TGP and Argentina’s Tecpetrol, were kidnapped by Shining Path rebels and released within the week, following alleged negotiations. At the time, an unsuccessful attempt by military and police to rescue the hostages resulted in police casualties, and cause the resignation of the ministers of Defense and Interior.

TGP is a private consortium led by Argentina’s Techint and includes US-based Hunt Oil, Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach, Argentina’s Pluspetrol, South Korea’s SK, France’s GDF Suez-Tractebel, and Peru’s Graña y Montero.

Briceño said the attack demonstrates the lack of planning by the government to capture Shining Path rebels that continue to operate in the area.

It is “extremelyworrying that the Peruvian government and the armed forces and police do not have a coherent plan to attack the problem straight on,” Briceño said, according to daily El Comercio.

“There haven’t been any results from the counter-insurgency actions,” he added.

SNMPE also issued a statement urging the Peru’s government “to adopt the necessary measures and actions to guarantee energy security in the country.”

It said that gas from the pipeline provides about 50 percent of Peru’s electricity production and more than 80 percent of liquid petroleum gas consumed in the country.  Since 2001 the government has been setting great importance on the distribution of gas to the coast and to the southern highlands of Puno and Cusco as the major source for energy.

“We can’t allow history to repeat itself,” SNMPE said, referring to the 1980s and early 1990s when the Shining Path threatened to topple the Peruvian government through a combination of bombings of key infrastructure, particularly the electrical power grids, attacks on police and military as well as community leaders, and targeted assassinations of opponents.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *