State Oil Company Denies Pipeline Spill Caused Major Damage

Peru’s state-owned oil company Petroperu denied that a rupture in a pipeline caused an oil spill in northern Amazonian rivers, daily El Comercio reported.

Petroperu said that the June 30 spill on the North Peruvian Oil Pipeline did not contaminate any rivers in the northeastern department of Loreto.

“The oil from the spill was confined to the isolation canal,” the company said. “Also, the area has been inspected and we haven’t found oil in the Cuninico river or in the Marañon river.”

Petroperu said that it was still unsure how much oil spilled from the pipeline.

The North Peruvian Oil Pipeline was built in the 1970s and started operations in 1978, at a time when Peru’s government had plans for major oil development in the northern Amazon region.

The pipeline transports crude from oil fields in the northeast jungle to the Pacific Coast, but it is operating far below capacity due to a general decline in oil production over the past three decades.

Indigenous communities in northern Peru have complained regularly about pipeline spills and the subsequent environmental contamination, which affects their health.

The president of the indigenous federation Acodecospat, Alfonso Lopez, called on the government’s environmental regulator, OEFA, and Petroperu to tell residents how much oil was spilled.

Lopez said that indigenous communities were first alerted to the spill when they found many dead fish in the waterways, allegedly caused by oil contamination.

OEFA said this week that it would supervise Petroperu’s activities following the spill.

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