(Alliance News) - PetroTal Corp on Friday said it has reduced production at its oilfield in Peru, as protests by indigenous rights groups continue to cause delays.
The Alberta, Canada-based oil and gas company condemned both the ongoing river blockade orchestrated by Peruvian activists, and the "violent" detainment of employees transporting crude oil out of the country last fortnight.
On November 25, representatives of Asociacion Indigena de Desarrollo y Conservacion de Bajo Puinahua, otherwise known as Aidecobap, detained a barge travelling to Brazil with crude oil bought from PetroTal.
The crew of the boat was taken hostage and then released 48 hours later, in an attempt to force the company to sign an addendum related to a government-agreed social trust.
Formed off the back of ongoing protests, the social trust is a proposition offered by PetroTal in response to direct action by Aidecobap.
The indigenous rights group has been protesting the Peruvian government via a blockade of PetroTal's loading dock for over a year, on the basis of its prosecution of protesting rights, and the allocation of a Basic Needs Trust capital to close social gaps in Peru.
Aidecobap has also compelled the government to expedite the formalisation of the 2.5% social fund, offered by PetroTal, into the Block 95 licence contract.
In April this year, Petroperu SA agreed to incorporate the fund as addendum into the PetroTal licence contract through a supreme decree.
Petroperu is a state company, responsible for promoting, negotiating, underwriting and monitoring contracts for exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in Peru.
On Friday, PetroTal said that Aidecobap followers had detained its barge in order to force an agreement for the Block 95 licencing contract on terms not yet agreed between itself and Petroperu.
It denounced the taking of hostages, as well as the use of "force and violence as a negotiating tactic", and called on the Peruvian government to intervene to prevent further unnecessary escalation.
PetroTal added that the blockade was impacting its social programs, thereby "upsetting [...] local communities" in the Puinahua District.
Aidecobap is a Peruvian-base organisation, which both understands and portrays itself as the "representatives of [indigenous] communities" in Peru.
"We are asking for the definition of a date for the signing of the addendum to the Block 95 contract, which formally creates the fund, to which the company allocates the value of 2.5% of its controlled oil production to finance projects and interventions for the benefit of the entire district," James Perez Pacaya, the president of Aidecobap, told Peru-based paper Gestion in November.
"We are waiting for Petrotal to sign the agreements, and we can submit this documentation to Perupetro so that it can follow the regular channel until it reaches the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the publication of the Supreme Decree is ordered. Otherwise, we will not give up our fight measure."
Addressing delays, PetroTal said that as a result of the ongoing river blockade, it has reduced production to between 4,500 and 5,000 barrels of oil per day, in order to manage storage levels.
It added that, should the blockade persist, it would need to further reduce production levels as the Northern Peruvian Pipeline remains unavailable due to ongoing repairs.
PetroTal and Petroperu have also finalised an agreement outlining the repayment terms of the USD64 million in true up revenue owed to the company by Petroperu from its export of 720,000 barrels of oil to an international refiner.
On December 1, the Company received USD10.9 million from Petroperu, as part of a schedule of payments, which is expected to be fully repaid by August 1, 2023.
In other news, PetroTal said that it does not expect the impeachment of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo and the appointment of Dina Moluarte to impact its operations.
PetroTal shares were trading 3.9% lower at 37.10 pence each in London on Friday afternoon.
By Holly Beveridge; Alliance News reporter
Comments and questions to email@example.com
Copyright 2022 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.