Peru's state-run oil company Petroperu Sunday reported an attack against the Norperuvian Oil Pipeline (ONP) in the jungle region of Loreto had caused a spill triggering environmental contingency protocols.
Police authorities and Petroperu have been able to confirm that the crude oil leak that spread along the Cuninico river and reached the Marañon river on Friday was the result of an intentional 21-centimeter cut to the pipe, the company said in a statement. The Cuninico is a major tributary to the Marañon river, which in turn is a major contributor to the Amazon river.
The cut has been sealed with a metal clamp to contain the hydrocarbon, the company also reported.
Petroperu reported the presence of traces of crude oil in the Cuninico river, in the Loreto region (northern jungle), after complaints of contamination from native communities. Six communities do not have water to drink or to prepare their food, said indigenous apu (leader) Galo Vásquez of the Cuninico people.
The Prosecution has launched a probe into the causes of the incident.
Petroperu has reported 10 attacks on its pipeline in Loreto since January, which have caused oil spills. The pipeline has recorded at least 29 acts of sabotage since 2014, according to the National Society of Mining, Petroleum, and Energy.
The company also noted that 19 barriers have been installed so far to prevent the spread of hydrocarbons while dialoguing with local groups to continue with the containment and cleaning work.
To this end, the personnel crews carry out patrolling and supervision work in order to identify other sectors of the river that require the installation of this containment equipment. In the same way, the definitive repair of the pipeline will be carried out, Petroperu pointed out.
Peru's state agency OEFA (Environmental Assessment and Control Agency) confirmed the oil spill in Section I of the ONP in the district of Urarinas de Loreto, and pledged to take the necessary measures.
According to the NGO Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR - Law, Environment and Natural Resources), over 100 native communities near the Marañon river could see their food and sustenance sources contaminated, as well as their territories and environment. The OEFA has already overseen three spills associated with the ONP, the last of which occurred a few days ago at kilometer 177 of the pipeline and affected the territories of the native communities Shoroya Nuevo and Musha Kandaschi, of the Chapra-Morona people, it was reported.
The ONP was built four decades ago to transport crude oil from the Amazon region to the coastal Piura through some 800 km.