Talisman abandons controvertial Amazon oil development in Peruvian rainforest
Talisman Energy (TLM), the oil company is reported to be abandoning exploration in a block of forest in the Peruvian Amazon, reports Amazon Watch, an activist group that has campaigned against the driller since 2004.
While still unclear exactly why Talisman decided to pull out of Peru at this point in time, it is known that the energy company faced strong opposition from environmentalists and indigenous leaders claiming that the indigenous communities effected had not been properly consulted. Furthermore, there are concerns that operations threaten the region’s high levels of biodiversity.
Operating four oil blocks – blocks 64 and 103 and with stakes in two others in the Peruvian Amazon – it was Talisman’s activities in Block 64 which attracted most attention. This block lies in the heart of Aguaruna-Huambisa (also known as Achuar) territory in an area very rich in biodiversity. The name ‘Aguaruna’ combines the Spanish for water (agua) with the Inca or Quechua word for people (runa). Known for centuries as “the river people”, around 45,000 of them dwell in the rain-forested region of Northern Peru, close to the border with Ecuador. These days the Aguaruna grow cash crops (rice, cacao and bananas) to augment the more traditional lifestyle of fishing, hunting and gardening in forest clearings, usually dwelling close to rivers in communities averaging around 250 people.
“Talisman has had to face up to what the Achuar told them when they first invested in Block 64: The company cannot drill without the consent of the Achuar people,” said Gregor MacLennan of Amazon Watch. “Talisman’s exit sends a clear message to the oil industry: Trampling indigenous rights in the rush to exploit marginal oil reserves in the Amazon rainforest is not an option.”
One of the major headwaters of the Amazon – the Marañon river valleys. Ranges from lowland forest to pre-montane forest. Containing diverse forest types and their respectively varied flora and fauna. Jaguars and spectacled bears still abound in the community forests and nearby forest, an indicator of high levels for existing fauna reserves that still thrive within the wider landscapes.