At least 8,000 barrels of oil has been spilled in the Peruvian Amazon Tuesday after pipelines were sabotaged, president of the state oil company, James Atkins, said.
"I think it is time for the law to be applied because it must be the same for all Peruvians. The pipeline is considered a critical national asset, and according to the law, anyone who damages it should have a prison sentence of six years. ten years,” Atkins said.
Petroperu, which received a threat before the pipeline was compromised, had suspended the pumping of oil, but the pipeline had pressure at the time it was cut. The pipeline transports oil extracted to the port terminal of Bayovar.
The Nor Peruano Pipeline has been in operation since 1977 and boasts an interconnected network comprising of about 1,106 kilometers of pipes across the Amazon and the Andes.
The spill has made its way to the Mayuriaga River, causing the Petroperu company chief to lament that "the ecological damage is tremendous and irreparable." The president disclosed that, over the past four years, 70% of damages to the pipeline "have been this type of attacks."
Officials from the state oil company have accused members of the Mayuriaga Indigenous community of severing the pipeline as well as obstructing technicians who attempted to carry out repairs.
The Agency for Evaluation and Environmental Enforcement (OEFA) also indicated, in a statement, that it is waiting for the police and prosecutors to go to the area to be able to verify the damages and determine culpability.
"We could face an environmental catastrophe," Petroperu’s Beatriz Alva, a manager state oil firm Petroperu, told channel N television.
Peru produced 127,000 barrels of oil per day in 2017, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
“The townspeople prevented us from securing the pipe to stop petroleum from spilling from the pipe,” Alva said in an interview with local radio station RPP.
Since 2016, over 20,000 barrels of petroleum have spilled by some 15 attacks, while 5,600 barrels leaked through corrosion or operative failures, OEFA data showed.