Plagued by a history of poor maintenance as well as Third Party Intervention, state-owned energy company Petroperu will begin in early 2017 shipping oil through its 40 year old, 1105 km pipeline for the first time in a year. The company's dismal record has led to over 7000 barrels in leaks of the pipeline as it winds through the Amazon, causing widespread environmental damage and souring relations with Amazonian communities along the way.
The pollution has triggered a month-long protest by indigenous communities in the region of Loreto.
OEFA, Peru's environmental regulator, has fined Petroperu $3.5 million for "repeated and systematic failure of its environmental obligations.” The company's new president, Augusto Baertl, a former mining executive, has declared that comporting itself in an environmentally responsible way is one of the chief goals for the new year. This will entail rigorous pipeline inspection and maintenance as well as a proactive outreach to the indigenous communities along the pipeline route.
Besides the repairs of the pipeline, Petroperu’s plans also include a $4.8-billion expansion of the Talara refinery, which is currently in construction. Baertl did not rule out venturing into production, but said for the time being that Petroperu had neither the workforce nor the funds to do so.