Ecuador will use the pipeline that links Peru’s northern Amazon oil zone to the Pacific coast to transport crude under a deal reached this week. Quito’s Non-Renewable Natural Resources Minister Wilson Pastor hailed the bi-national accord as “true energy integration, in which two countries, Ecuador and Peru, are joining forces and needs.” He said Ecuador will pay a fee of $10 per barrel of crude extracted from the southern zone of the Ecuadoran Amazon. A 100-kilometer feeder pipeline will be built from Ecuador’s border to the Oleoducto NorPeruano, which runs to Bayovar port in Puira region. The deal could facilitate a major industrial thrust into Ecuador’s southern Amazonian region. Most of Ecuador‘s exported oil currently comes from the northern part of its Amazon region, via the SOTE and OCP pipelines. (EFE, Aug. 9; RPP, Aug. 8; A Barrel Full website)
The deal comes just as tensions have re-emerged over informal mining operations by Ecuadorans coming across the border into Peru’s territory in the Cordillera del Cóndor, a range that straddles the frontier just north of where the Oleoducto NorPeruano passes through Amazonas region. Municipal authorities in Huampami district, El Cenepa province, have called upon Peru’s national authorities to intervene against the miner colonization from across the border. The demand was also raised by the Organization for the Development of the Indigenous Communities of Alto Comaina (ODECOAC). (La Republica, July 11)
The mineral-rich Cordillera del Cóndor was the subject of a brief war between Peru and Ecuador that broke out on Jan. 26, 1995. Peru claimed that the border had been established by the 1942 Rio de Janeiro Protocol, which had confirmed its victory over Ecuador in a 10-day war in 1941 over the territory. But Ecuador declared the protocol null in 1960, before the last 48 miles of the border had been marked. February 1981 saw brief fighting over the border posts of Paquisha, Machinaza and Mayaycu before both sides agreed to respect the existing border on at least de facto terms to avoid all-out war. But in early 1995, President Alberto Fujimori sent troops and warplanes into the region, vowing to enforce Peru’s claim to the 48-mile stretch. When fighting broke out at the area of Alto Cenepa, each side accused the other of being the aggressor, and deployed naval ships along their coasts. A truce took effect on March 1, calling for demilitarization of the disputed border but again with neither side abandoning its claims. Peru reported losing several warplanes and almost 50 soldiers in what became known as the Cenepa War; Ecuador’s official toll was some 30 dead and 300 wounded; casualties on both sides were likely greater. On Oct. 26, 1998, the two countries signed a peace treaty defining the 48-mile stretch, creating a committee to resolve boundary issues peacefully, and setting down terms for bilateral navigation rights on the rivers draining the area. (Wars of the World; GlobalAffairs.es; see Map of Area of Boundary Dispute)
See our last post on the struggle for the Amazon.