Date: Sun, 23 Jul 1995 15:25:51 -0400
NATIVE-L Aboriginal Peoples: news & information
Subject: Peru Oil News #8
Original Sender: email@example.com (Edward Hammond)
YPF, the former state oil enterprise and largest company in Argentina, is poised to become a prime target of environmentalists and indigenous groups protesting irresponsible oil development. Since being privatized last year, it has engaged in a massive program to become a regional drilling powerhouse, snapping up oil rights in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. Most dramatically, it swallowed Dallas (USA) based Maxus Energy earlier this year with a US $742 million dollar stock buyout. The deal includes a YPF guarantee of Maxus' US $1,000,000,000 debt. YPF's holding in Peru is an 80% stake in Lot 50.
Maxus is known internationally for the irresponsibility it has displayed after taking over an Ecuadorean oil lot abandoned by Conoco because of environmental and indian protests. Maxus' subsequent environmental mismanagement and the disastrous effects of it's activity on the Huaorani people have been widely reported, including an investigative report aired in the US on the nationwide network NBC. The report offered interviews with former Maxus contractors and indigenous people that further damaged Maxus' ghastly reputation.
Upon the takeover, YPF officials noted that one of the primary reasons
they acquired Maxus was in order to obtain greater on-the-ground
exploration, drilling and development skills. Coupled with YPF's
burgeoning portfolio of Amazonian drilling rights, the takeover raises
the very concrete possibility that the same Maxus teams responsible
for damages in Ecuador will be shipped across the western Amazon to
develop YPF's acquisitions.
The danger posed by the Maxus/YPF conglomerate in Peru is particularly severe. Peru and Argentina have historically friendly relations which began to spill over into the oil industry during the military dictatorships in both countries in the 1970s. Militarily-connected Argentine oil companies made investments in Peruvian oil rights with favorable terms granted by the Velasco dictatorship and subsequent governments. Occidental (Oxy), a US-based multinational and the biggest oil producer in Peru, has large investments in both countries and played a leading role in spearheading the connections. Argentine independents have continued to play roles in Peru through the 80s and 90s, possibly setting the stage for collaboration on a grander scale through YPF. With Amazonian exploration taking the lion's share of Peruvian oil activity, YPF's acquisition of Maxus' jungle teams, and YPF's relative insulation from US and European environmental protests, YPF's forays into the jungle may spell disaster for indigenous people.