Peru: another spill from trans-Andean oil pipeline

Peru's northern trans-Andean oil pipeline suffered its third serious rupture of the year June 24, spilling over 1,000 barrels of crude into an expanse of the Amazon rainforest. An area of 16,000 square meters is said to be contaminated in Barranca district, Datem del Marañón province, Loreto region. PetroPerú, the parastatal that runs the pipeline, has instated an emergency "contingency plan" and says it has contained the spill. But a preliminary report by the Dátem del Marañón Health Network, part of the Loreto Regional Health Office (DIRESA) warns that contract workers and local residents involved in the clean-up effort lacked special equipment.. Health risks could include "poisoning and burns" from direct exposure to the oil. (EFE, June 27; La República, RPP, Peru21, Mongabay, June 25; El Comercio, June 24)

Datem del Marañón province was also impacted in the February oil spill. Operations of the pipeline are now suspended. Following the spills earlier this year, the Organism of Environmental Regulation (OEFA) initiated legal actions that could result in a fine of up to 79 million soles ($240 million) for PetroPerú. Furthermore, local government officials were forced to declare a state of emergency over water  (Living in Peru, June 27; El Comercio, June 25)