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“A group of sea lions at Paracas natural reserve, 300 km south of Lima.
Peru's President Alejandro Toledo on August 7, 2004 launched operations at the Camisea gas fractionation and liquefaction plant on the southern Pacific coast, opening the way for lucrative propane and butane sales.
But locals and environmentalists slammed the plant's location just outside the country's most important marine reserve and said it would wreck the wildlife sanctuary and could scare off tourists.
Amazon Watch declares the Camisea Gas Project to be currently the most damaging project in the Amazon Basin.”
            A group of sea lions at Paracas natural reserve, 300 km south of Lima, are seen in this file photo from July 2003. 

Peru's President Alejandro Toledo on August 7, 2004 launched operations at the Camisea gas fractionation and liquefaction plant on the southern Pacific coast, opening the way for lucrative propane and butane sales. 

But locals and environmentalists slammed the plant's location just outside the country's most important marine reserve and said it would wreck the wildlife sanctuary and could scare off tourists. 

Amazon Watch declares the Camisea Gas Project to be currently the most damaging project in the Amazon Basin.

Photo: REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
 

Tuesday, 10 August, 2004
Peru prepares for the gas age
By Hannah Hennessy
BBC reporter in Lima, Peru
Amazon jungle, Peru

The gas reserves are located deep in the Amazon jungle
The gas reserves are located deep in the Amazon jungle
Something good is arriving. That is the slogan marking the launch of Camisea, the most ambitious energy project in Peruvian history.
For the economy of the cash poor but resource rich South American nation, the slogan could not be more apt.
But it has been a long and contentious journey.
More than twenty years after natural gas was discovered deep in the Amazon jungle, Peru's President Alejandro Toledo has inaugurated a $1.6bn project to pipe it across the Andes and up the Pacific coast to Lima.
One pipeline will supply the capital with gas for commercial use; a second one will carry natural gas liquids to a processing plant on the Pacific coast.
From there, Peru hopes to export lucrative markets in Mexico and the United States.
Cheaper energy
"Thanks to Camisea, Peru will go from being an energy importer to a country that exports energy overseas, a net exporter beginning in 2007," President Toledo said during the inauguration ceremony at the Las Malvinas gas fields.
But Camisea is expected to do more than just fill Peruvian coffers with foreign cash.
President Alejandro Toledo

President Toledo says the project will boost Peru's economy
President Toledo says the project will boost Peru's economy
The project has directly generated an estimated 14,000 new jobs and should indirectly create 55,000 more. The arrival of the gas in Lima will slash energy costs for hundreds of businesses and theoretically make Peruvian industry more competitive.
In a country where more than half the population lives below the poverty line, businesses won't be the sole benefactors.
Within two years, Camisea's cleaner and cheaper gas should be reaching thousands of homes in Lima, providing residents with energy at around half the current price.
Gas age
President Toledo said Camisea would add one percentage point to Peru's GDP for the 33-year-life of the project, and for almost another thirty years after that.
He said exports would contribute another percentage point to Peru's GDP for eighteen years.
"Good news for Peruvians - we're entering the gas age," Peru's La Republica newspaper announced on its front page last week.
But not everyone agrees.
Critics say economic benefits are being put before environmental concerns.
Camisea's gas fields were discovered by energy giant Shell in the early 1980s. In the department of Cusco, around two hundred and eighty miles from Lima, there are proven natural gas reserves of at least 8.7 trillion cubic feet.
Native Peruvians

Indigenous groups say the project has damaged the environment
Indigenous groups say the project has damaged the environment
Public confidence?
Shell first had the contract to develop the fields, but left the project after a row with Peru's former president, Alberto Fujimori.
In December 2000, the concession was awarded to a consortium of smaller companies led by Argentina's PlusPetrol.
That consortium took out full page adverts in some of Peru's top newspapers.
"Forty-four months after we made our promise, now we say to Peru, we have fulfilled that promise. We're grateful for your confidence in us," the advert said.
The confidence hasn't always been there.
Environmentalists said the consortium's smaller companies were not experienced enough to handle the challenges of working in one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.
Two years later, it seemed they were proved right. The consortium was fined by Peru's energy regulator for violations, including crossing into a protected reserve without authorization and leaving cleared debris exposed to heavy rains, causing an environmental hazard.
Environmental dimension
Since then environmentalists and indigenous groups have accused the developers of causing irreversible damage to the pristine jungle.
They allege the consortium has also damaged the lives of isolated tribes living in the region, by introducing diseases, cutting down trees and contaminating their food supplies.
President Toledo acknowledged that controversy at the inauguration.
"I want to pay homage to the native communities for taking this step with a constructive spirit that has allowed this project to become reality that does take into consideration environmental dimensions and respects the culture of the native communities," he said.
But indigenous leaders have called on the government and the consortium to work alongside them to ensure those who live near Camisea will not be forgotten.
Indigenous leader Walter Catehuari said he would not accept "people taking advantage" of his own people.
After such a long journey, the arguments are unlikely to end with the inauguration of Camisea.
But one thing developers, environmentalists and all Peruvians seem to agree on is that there is a difficult balance to be struck between preserving the wealth of one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and securing cash for this poor country.
SEE ALSO:
Peru launches Amazon gas pipeline
05 Aug 04 | Americas
Amazon pipeline plan 'damaging'
27 Mar 04 | Americas
Taxing times for Peru's economy
28 Jul 03 | Business
Peru's Amazon gas project approved
10 Sep 03 | Americas
Country profile: Peru
30 Jun 04 | Country profiles


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“Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo poses with workers of the Camisea plant in Pisco, south of Lima, August 7, 2004.
Toledo launched operations at the Camisea gas fractionation and liquefaction plant on the southern Pacific coast, opening the way for lucrative propane and butane sales.
Amazon Watch declares the Camisea Gas Project to be currently the most damaging project in the Amazon Basin.”
            Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo poses with workers of the Camisea plant in Pisco, south of Lima, August 7, 2004.

Toledo launched operations at the Camisea gas fractionation and liquefaction plant on the southern Pacific coast, opening the way for lucrative propane and butane sales.

Amazon Watch declares the Camisea Gas Project to be currently the most damaging project in the Amazon Basin.

Photo: REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
Amazon Watch - In the Amazon - Peru - Camisea Natural Gas Project
 
Machiguenga+girl+from+TimpiaMachiguenga+traditional+house+in+ShimaaCamisea+natural+gas+project
Project Overview
Peru's Camisea Gas Project is currently the most damaging project in the Amazon Basin.    Located in the remote Urubamba Valley in the south-east Peruvian Amazon, the $1.6 billion project includes two pipelines to the Peruvian coast cutting through an Amazon biodiversity hotspot described by scientists as "the last place on earth" to drill for fossil fuels.    Nearly 75 percent of gas extraction operations are located inside a State Reserve for indigenous peoples living with little or no contact with the outside world, who have been forcibly contacted by the Camisea consortia in violation of their internationally recognized rights.    A gas processing plant is being built on the Peruvian coast within the buffer zone of a marine reserve of international significance.
For the final phase of the project estimated to cost an additional $1-2 billion, Texas-based Hunt Oil will construct a plant to liquefy natural gas for export to the United States.    Kellogg Brown & Root, a unit of Halliburton, is in line to build it.    Half of Camisea's gas will be shipped to the United States to supply West Coast energy markets.    This flood of cheap gas could undermine California's clean energy programs.

Click to enlarge Camisea maps:
map1
map2
map3
The project, now said to be 70% complete, is racing forward to meet its August 2004 deadline for completion.    Inexperienced companies with poor environmental records have plowed ahead with construction, showing neither the will nor the ability to avoid the serious environmental and social impacts now affecting the entire local population.    Government oversight is weak and project financiers seem unable and unwilling to implement international standards to stop the devastation.
The Camisea Project is owned by two consortia of small companies with poor environmental records led by Hunt Oil - a company with close ties to the Bush administration.    Chief Executive Ray L. Hunt contributed to President Bush's presidential campaign and also sits on the Board of Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice-President Dick Cheney already involved in Camisea.
The gas production consortia is composed of: Pluspetrol (36%); Hunt Oil (36%); SK Corporation (18%); Tecpetrol (10%).    The gas transportation consortia named TGP is operated by Techint and includes: Pluspetrol (23.41%); Hunt Oil (22.2%); SK Corporation (22.2%) Sonatrach (11.01%); Tractebel (11.09%); Tecgas (8%); Graña y Montero (2%).    Belgium's Tractebel will carry out gas distribution in Lima potentially financed by a Belgian export credit agency.
Camisea development
Members of the upstream consortium are Pluspetrol (40%), Hunt Oil (40%), SK Corporation (South Korea) (20%).    Downstream members are Techint (30%), Pluspetrol (19.2%), Hunt Oil (19.2%), SK Corporation (9.6%), Grana y Montero (Peru) (12%) and Sonatrach (Algeria) (10%).
Project sponsors picked up over $600 million of project costs while waiting for decisions on public financing from the United States Export Import Bank (Ex-Im) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), delayed for 10 months due to escalating criticism from indigenous groups, Peruvian civil society, international NGOs, US Congressional representatives and the Banks' own environmental auditors.    Citigroup and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation had already chosen to reject the Project.
While in August 2003 Ex-Im turned down $214 million of loan guarantees for the project citing unresolved environmental concerns, the Inter-American Development approved a direct loan of $75 million and a syndicated loan of $60 million to the transportation consortia in early September 2003.
IDB endorsement effectively gives project companies a green light to continue without attending to significant project flaws.    The IDB's own environmental loan conditions fail to address the concerns of Peruvian civil society.    Critics also argue that public monies to Camisea fly in the face of internationally accepted safeguards such as World Bank policies and the recently announced Equator Principles being implemented by a dozen private banks.    IDB scrutiny has yet to result in significant on-the-ground improvements leading observers to conclude that the Bank lacks the political will to implement social and environmental protection measures.
Camisea construction
© Amazon Watch.
Camisea construction crew.
The Andean Development Corporation (CAF) provided $75 million in financing and the Brazilian Development (BNDES) granted a loan of $109 million to TGP.    The Italian export credit agency, SACE has yet to make a decision.    Remaining funding is expected to come from private sector financiers and potentially other European export credit agencies.
The Camisea project is devastating some of the most diverse and threatened biological complexes in the world.    The remote and hitherto inaccessible Lower Urubamba is a roadless region of global ecological significance.    The pipelines cut through the Vilcabamba region, an area considered by conservationists to be of almost unparalleled biological richness.
Yet, as with pipeline projects throughout the Amazon, the opening up of forest to build the Camisea gas pipelines threatens to bring a wave of migrants, loggers and developers to the area resulting in deforestation, environmental degradation and social pressures.    The pipeline consortium will not close off the pipeline route and have left responsibility for controlling colonization in the hands of local communities, potentially placing them at the center of future conflict over land and forest resources.
Camisea rainforests
© 1998 Lilly/Amazon Watch.
Camisea is one of the most pristine and biologically diverse rainforests in the world.
Camisea companies have breached both modern industry standards and international environmental guidelines.    Technical experts recently documented irreparable impacts on critical natural habitat resulting from massive landslides and soil erosion from the pipeline's extremely steep route.    Erosion during recent heavy rains has washed thousands of tons of soil and vegetation into local rivers.
The Camisea Project is jeopardizing the health and safety of Machiguenga indigenous communities living along the Urubamba River.    They live in small communities dispersed throughout the forest and depend largely on game, fish and forest products.    Some communities now have no clean drinking water due to river pollution.    Disregard for safety regulations by project workers has already killed one Machiguenga child.    The reduction in fish and game stocks caused by project construction is threatening their staple diet.    Local health workers testify that small children are at risk from chronic malnutrition.    Illness is on the increase throughout the Urubamba.    In June 2003 one Machiguenga man stated: "Now there is such a combination of illnesses that we can't identify the illnesses that we get."
The Nahua, Nanti, and Kirineri are semi-nomadic peoples who live in voluntary isolation with little or no contact with the outside world within the Nahua Kugapakori State Reserve neighboring the Urubamba River.    The Reserve was created by the government of Peru over a decade ago to protect these vulnerable peoples from outside intrusion.    However, in violation of internationally recognized indigenous rights, Camisea companies have forcibly contacted them, robbing them of their right to chose their own lifestyle and exposing them to sickness.    42% of the Nahua population already died from introduced diseases to which they have no immunity when Shell conducted gas exploration in the mid-'80s.    There is evidence that increased disease among the Machiguenga will also infect peoples within the Reserve.
To fuel its ambitious export project, Hunt Oil is also interested in acquiring oil concession Block 57 located adjacent to the Camisea Project concession and Manu National Park.    Block 57 completely covers the traditional territories of the Nahua people who are in the initial stages of contact with the outside world.    The Nahua recently took the unprecedented step of publicly communicating through local advocates their rejection of all oil and gas operations within their lands:
"In the past, Shell worked here and almost all of us died from the diseases...We know that if another company comes here, our rivers and land will be destroyed.    What will we eat when the rivers are dead and the animals have run away?"
Camisea development
© Amazon Watch.
Camisea construction from the sky.
Pluspetrol and Techint have appalling environmental track records. In 2000, a Pluspetrol oil spill devastated one of Peru’s largest protected areas, the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, and seriously affected the health of the Cocamas-Cocamillas people who suffered severe diarrhea, skin diseases and malnutrition after their food and water supplies were decimated by toxic pollution. In the northern Peruvian Amazon, Pluspetrol continues to pump oil wastes into local rivers causing stomach ailments, cancer and respiratory diseases among Achuar and Quichua communities.
In early 2002, a huge explosion — the second one in less than a year — along an Argentinean gas pipeline operated by Techint, the contractor for the Camisea pipeline, again sent flames leaping through the Yungas forest, an area of critical conservation status, home to the rare jaguar. In Ecuador, Techint is in charge of construction of the OCP pipeline and has been embroiled in controversy, facing lawsuits, protests, and fines for the destruction of protected areas and the habitat of rare endangered species.

© 2000-2003 Amazon Watch. All rights reserved.
“A Peruvian worker cleans a Pre-Inca ceramic pot found during the excavations of Camisea Project on the coast of Pisco, in this file image from February, 2004.

Camisea Project opened a seven hundred thirty-one kilometres route to install a pipeline where one thousand archaeological sites and seventy-two tons of Pre-Inca rests were found, including ceramics, necklaces, domestic utensils, textiles, mummies and stone pieces up to 7,000 BC.”


            A Peruvian worker cleans a Pre-Inca ceramic pot found during the excavations of Camisea Project on the coast of Pisco, in this file image from February, 2004.

Camisea Project opened a seven hundred thirty-one kilometres route to install a pipeline where one thousand archaeological sites and seventy-two tons of Pre-Inca rests were found, including ceramics, necklaces, domestic utensils, textiles, mummies and stone pieces up to 7,000 BC.

Photo: HO Camisea Project
Pygmy Elephants and Palm Oil Threat
The only hope for these elephants now is protection of the lowland forest as nature reserves or sustainably managed logging concessions.
Forests are being burned and peat wetlands drained for plantations, causing huge releases of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Land clearances in Indonesia to meet the growing global demand for palm oil pose a serious threat to the environment.
Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.
     Clock ticking for Indonesian rainforest       
     Deforestation illegal logging primarily not because of poverty but corruption     
      Destruction of rainforest Indonesia Riau province     
Extreme drought in Amazon rainforest linked to deforestation and climate change
The trouble has been that while traditional aerial images can show areas that have been completely destroyed, they do not reveal selective logging of valuable trees such as mahogany.
Brazilian officials praised the scientists for highlighting the issue of selective logging, but said the new figures were hard to believe.
     Clock ticking for Indonesian rainforest       
     Deforestation across the world     
       Amazon 'stealth' logging revealed    
Unspeakable grief and horror
                        ...and the circus of deception continues...
— 2017
— 2016
— 2015
— 2014
— 2013
— 2012
— 2011
— 2010
— 2009
— 2008
— 2007
— 2006
— 2005
— 2004
— 2003
Circus of Torture   2003 — now
 
 
 
  Afghanistan — Western Terror States: Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy      
       Photos of Afghanistan people being killed and injured by NATO      

 
 
 
For archive purposes, this article is being stored on Kewe.info website.
The purpose is to advance understandings of environmental, political,
human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues.