Oil & Gas

08 Oct 2020

Peru Crude Production at Historic Low in Sept

08 Oct 2020  by   
Peru's crude production fell to a historic low of 29,165 b/d in September, less than half the level of 12 months earlier, according to data from hydrocarbons regulator PeruPetro.

Part of the downturn reflects the impact of protests at oil fields and the 100,000 b/d northern crude pipeline. In a meeting with reporters yesterday, energy minister Luis Miguel Inchaustegui said the government is committed to addressing long-standing grievances held by indigenous communities in oil-producing Loreto state.

He said the government recognizes that communities have missed out on economic development and that decades of oil production have left behind a legacy of pollution.

"Our challenge is to work with indigenous communities and mayors in the zone so that we can restore confidence," Inchaustegui said.

The administration of President Martin Vizcarra in August published a plan to close gaps in education, health care, sanitation and transportation. The six-year plan, scheduled to begin this quarter, identifies projects, but does not set out programmed investment.

Lack of development has been a major source of friction for years, exploding most recently in August with protests along the pipeline and block 95, operated by Canadian independent PetroTal, to demand state action. Clashes at the block killed three people and left 18 others injured.

Protesters targeted a pumping station along the pipeline on 29 September. Around 150 protesters remain in place. PetroTal reopened its block in late September, pumping its first crude in seven weeks on 30 September. The production is currently going into storage until the pipeline reopens.

Three other blocks in the northern jungle have been closed since early this year from a combination of low oil prices, protests and, starting in March, the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elsewhere in Loreto state, block 192 operated by another Canadian independent, Frontera; block 8 operated by Argentina's Pluspetrol; and block 67 by European independent Perenco are closed and have given no indication on reopening.

Inchaustegui said the ministry was close to setting in motion a plan to remediate areas contaminated with oil.

"The government is working on studies for remediation. We would like to have them done by December," he said.

According to a report by the country's human rights coordinating committee, there were 474 spills on oil blocks and along the pipeline in 2000-19, leaving behind more than 2,000 sites that require remediation.

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