Tag Archives: oil drilling

Russia: Khanty take action to stop road construction through sacred site

By Iwgia, May 5, 2014. Source: Intercontinental Cry

Oil workers are trying unsuccessfully to extend a road to an oil field through a sacred lichen grove on Khanty ancestral lands 180km from Nizhnevartovsk in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Russia.

Khanty blocking road construction. Photo: Galina Obolenskaya

Khanty blocking road construction. Photo: Galina Obolenskaya

On April 28, Representatives of the Khanty community of Nizhnevartovsk district blocked operations of the “Varyoganneft” oil company which is building a road through a sacred lichen grove to an oil deposit on the Khanty’s ancestral lands.

Local residents erected a Chum (a Siberian nomad tent) to block passage of the company’s equipment and are not planning to remove it until the oil workers leave.

According to community representative Alexander Aipin, the Agan lichen grove is a sanctuary and a place where the Khanty have worshiped the patroness of the Agan river for many centuries.

The community’s lawyer, Galina Obolenskaya, who is also a member of the city council of Raduzhny, says that the representatives of the company are unable to produce the necessary permits for the operation, therefore, their actions are unlawful: “The oil company has neither the legal nor the moral right to work on these lands. These are territories of traditional nature use. Indigenous peoples assert their right to live on their traditional lands where their ancestors lived”.

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Ecuador rejects vote on Amazon oil drilling in Yasuni park

May 6, 2014. Source: BBC

Huaorani natives and Yasunidos ecologist group activists march in Quito on April 12, 2014. Activists said they had gathered enough signatures to force a vote on further oil drilling in the Amazon. Photo: AFP

Huaorani natives and Yasunidos ecologist group activists march in Quito on April 12, 2014.
Activists said they had gathered enough signatures to force a vote on further oil drilling in the Amazon. Photo: AFP

Ecuador has rejected a petition for a referendum on whether the Yasuni National Park in the Amazon should be opened to further oil exploration.

The National Electoral Council said not enough signatures were collected to force a referendum.

Activists from the group Yasunidos, who had gathered the signatures, accused the council of “fraud”.

They oppose more oil drilling in the park, saying it would damage one of the world’s richest areas of biodiversity.

The electoral authorities validated 359,781 of the 850,000 signatures collected, well under the 583,323 needed by Ecuadorian law. Continue reading

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Repsol sells oil stake in ‘isolated’ Indigenous People’s territory in Peruvian Amazon

By David Hill, March 13, 2014. Source: Upside Down World

Photo: Rainforest Foundation Norway

Photo: Rainforest Foundation Norway

Oil and gas company Repsol is selling its stake in controversial oil operations in a remote part of the Peruvian Amazon inhabited by indigenous people in ‘voluntary isolation’ (IPVI), just across the border from the ITT oil fields in Ecuador.

Repsol’s move follows an investigation by the Council on Ethics within Norway’s Finance Ministry which, according to Norwegian sources, recommended the Ministry divest from the company because of its operations in this region.

The decision by Repsol to sell its stake was revealed in a report by Peru’s state oil and gas licensing agency, Perupetro, which stated that a Repsol Peru subsidiary is selling 50% of Lot 39, as the oil concession is called, to Perenco.

Repsol spokesperson Gonzalo Velasco Perez confirms the sale, saying, ‘In November Repsol started the process of ceding the 50% of the rights in Lot 39 in Peru to Perenco. The process hasn’t finished yet and will take a few more months.’

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The debate on Yasuni continues

Note: Thanks, Patrick for offering another perspective on the Yasuni oil drilling debacle (though we still don’t believe that money can solve the problems caused by capitalism…)
–The GJEP Team

From Patrick Bond  7 October 2013:

Dear GJEP, I always am in unity with your arguments, but on this intro note - http://climate-connections.org/2013/10/05/ecuador-congress-approves-yasuni-basin-oil-drilling-in-amazon/ - my disagreements with your wording/analysis are as follows (while ultimately agreeing with you that the site is so valuable that it should not be wrecked by the Correa government, no matter whether payment is made):

“A perfect example of why holding critical biodiversity reserves hostage

This ‘hostage’ metaphor is unfair, even a caricature. Plan A was agreed on by virtually everyone after Accion Ecologica and Connai proposed it and Alberto Acosta took it to Correa in 2007: the North should pay $3.6 bn to leave the Yasuni oil in the soil. One rationale: the North owes what Accion Ecologica has long called an “ecological debt”, for which this project might be considered a mere downpayment,

“and demanding payment for their protection”

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Ecuador Congress Approves Yasuni Basin Oil Drilling in Amazon

Note: A perfect example of why holding critical biodiversity reserves hostage and demanding payment for their protection (AKA payment for environmental services) is a really stupid and dangerous idea.  How about instead turning these areas over to the forest dependent and Indigenous Peoples who have kept them intact all this time–of right, no money in that.  Gotta love “Green” Capitalism!

–The GJEP Team

By REUTERS, October 3, 2013  Source: New York Times

QUITO — Ecuador’s parliament on Thursday authorized drilling of the nation’s largest oil fields in part of the Amazon rainforest after the failure of President Rafael Correa’s plan to have rich nations pay to avoid its exploitation.

The socialist leader launched the initiative in 2007 to protect the Yasuni jungle area, which boasts some of the planet’s most diverse wildlife, but scrapped it after attracting only a small fraction of the $3.6 billion sought.

The government-dominated National Assembly authorized drilling in blocks 43 and 31, but attached conditions to minimize the impact on both the environment and local tribes.

Though Correa says the estimated $22 billion earnings potential will be used to combat poverty in the South American nation, there have been protests from indigenous groups and green campaigners.

About 680,000 people have signed a petition calling for a referendum.

“We want them to respect our territory,” Alicia Cauilla, a representative of the Waorani people who live around the Yasuni area, said in an appeal to the assembly.

“Let us live how we want.”

Correa has played down the potential impact of oil drilling in the area, saying it would affect only 0.01 percent of the entire Yasuni basin.

A U.S.-trained economist, Correa has won broad popular support among Ecuador’s low-income majority with heavy spending on welfare, health, education and infrastructure projects.

He says it is essential for the country to expand its oil reserves in order to direct more state spending toward the poor.

Oil output in OPEC’s smallest member has stagnated since 2010 when the government asked oil investors to sign less-profitable service contracts or leave the country. Since then, oil companies have not invested in exploration.

State oil company Petroamazonas will be in charge of extraction in blocks 43 and 31, which are estimated to hold 800 million barrels of crude and projected to yield 225,000 barrels per day eventually. Ecuador currently produces 540,000 bpd.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Oil, Pollution

Ecuador: Clashes at Quito protest over oil drilling in Yasuni reserve

August 30, 2013. Source: World War 4 Report

Indigenous and environmentalist protesters clashed with police in Ecuador Aug. 27, as a mobilization dubbed a zapateo (foot-stamping) against plans to open the Yasuni Amazon reserve to oil drilling was held in both Quito and Cuenca. Carlos Pérez, leader of the ECUARUNARI indigenous alliance, said police fired rubber bullets on protesters in Quito, leaving 12 hurt—claims denied by the Interior Ministry. At the capital’s Plaza de la Independencia, protesters were confronted by an organized counter-demonstration made up of supporters of the ruling Alianza PAIS. After the march, protesters held a public assembly in the city’s Plaza Bolívar, where they agreed to meet every Thursday outside the Environment Ministry in an ongiong campaign until their demands are met. The movement is demanding aconsulta popular—public discussion and referendum—on the fate of Yasuni. Ecuador’s National Assembly is currently considering President Rafael Correa’s proposal to open oil blocs within the reserve. (El Universo, Guayaquil, Aug. 29; AFP, Aug. 28)

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‘Deer don’t vote’: Quebec island quietly cleared for fracking

By Nicolas Van Praet, June 5, 2013. Source: The Province

fp0606_anticosti_c_ab-jpgAn opposition party says the Quebec government has quietly approved hydraulic fracturing on Anticosti, warning that the picturesque island packed with four-legged wildlife will be “devastated” when oil drill rigs arrive and begin exploration work in earnest.

Why is the Parti Québécois government approving the controversial drilling technique there when it has banned it in the St. Lawrence Lowlands under a five-year moratorium? “Because deer don’t vote,” said Amir Khadir, one of two elected members of the Québec Solidaire Party.

The large island is home to just 280 people but thousands of deer, drawing hundreds of hunters every year to its remote location in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Three companies – Junex Inc., Pétrolia Inc. and Corridor Resources Inc. have done initial exploratory work on Anticosti. The estimated oil initially in place, not necessarily recoverably in its entirety, is about 40 million barrels.
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Land grab cheats North Dakota tribes out of $1 billion, suits allege

Note: Looks like time-tested colonial practices of lying, deceit and outright theft are alive and well in the Bakken shale.  The below story is not an isolated incident of corruption, but an example of government-backed, systematic oppression of native peoples.

-The GJEP Team

By Abraham Lustgarten, February 23, 2013. Source: Pro Publica

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Native Americans on an oil-rich North Dakota reservation have been cheated out of more than $1 billion by schemes to buy drilling rights for lowball prices, a flurry of recent lawsuits assert. And, the suits claim, the federal government facilitated the alleged swindle by failing in its legal obligation to ensure the tribes got a fair deal.

This is a story as old as America itself, given a new twist by fracking and the boom that technology has sparked in North Dakota oil country. Since the late 1800s, the U.S. government has appropriated much of the original tribal lands associated with the Fort Berthold reservation in North Dakota for railroads and white homesteaders. A devastating blow was delivered when the Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Missouri River in 1953, flooding more than 150,000 acres at the heart of the remaining reservation. Members of the Three Affiliated Tribes — the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara — were forced out of the fertile valley and up into the arid and barren surrounding hills, where they live now.

But that last-resort land turns out to hold a wealth of oil, because it sits on the Bakken Shale, widely believed to be one of the world’s largest deposits of crude. Until recently, that oil was difficult to extract, but hydraulic fracturing, combined with the ability to drill a well sideways underground, can tap it. The result, according to several senior tribal members and lawsuits filed last November and early this year in federal and state courts, has been a land grab involving everyone from tribal leaders accused of enriching themselves at the expense of their people, to oil speculators, to a New York hedge fund, to the federal government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs.
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Indigenous protests grow as Ecuador auctions Amazon oil blocks

November 28 2012. Source: Upside Down World, Amazon Watch

Police, military and hotel security attempted to forcibly remove indigenous leaders and protesters from the front entrance of the oil conference. Photo: Amazon Watch

Police, military and hotel security attempted to forcibly remove indigenous leaders and protesters from the front entrance of the oil conference. Photo: Amazon Watch

Quito – Hundreds of indigenous people gathered outside the Marriott Hotel in Quito today at the VII Annual Meeting of Oil and Energy where the Ecuadorian government announced the opening of the XI Round, an oil auction in which 13 oil blocks went on sale covering nearly eight million acres of rainforest in the Amazonian provinces of Pastaza and Morona Santiago near the border with Peru.

Led by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and the Confederation of Amazonian Indigenous Nationalities (CONFENIAE) and representing seven indigenous nationalities, the group overtook the entrance to the hotel and were meet by military, police, private security forces and pepper spray. Several indigenous leaders entered the meeting and publicly confronted Minister of Non-Renewable Energy Wilson Pastor.

“CONFENIAE was never consulted about this,” said Franco Viteri, President of CONFENIAE. “Our position on oil extraction is clear: We are absolutely opposed.” Continue reading

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Ecuador: More Amazon drilling, and a ‘conservation’ scheme

Note: These two reports coming from Ecuador on Friday illustrate the type of initiatives and policies being pushed under the ‘Green Economy,’ in which companies and countries demand large sums of money in order not to pollute or destroy ecosystems.  Ecuador is essentially stealing land from indigenous peoples, inviting fossil fuel corporations to drill on much of it, and holding the rest of the land hostage unless other countries or corporations can pony up the cash to conserve it.  Besides allowing corporations to greenwash their image, these types of payment for ecosystem services pilot schemes are laying the foundation for larger-scale ‘environmental markets’ in biodiversity and nature’s services, which are vigorously opposed by social movements, indigenous peoples organizations, and civil society networks worldwide.

–The GJEP Team

Ecuador to award contracts for new oil blocks in Amazon region

October 19, 2012. Source: Fox News Latino

Ecuador will auction contracts for new Amazon oil blocks believed to contain as much as 1.6 billion barrels, Non-Renewable Natural Resources Minister Wilson Pastor said Friday.

Three of the 16 blocks will be directly awarded to foreign state oil companies that will partner with Ecuadorian state oil firm Petroamazonas.

The minister said the winning bidders are expected to invest around $1.2 billion in the blocks.

Read more here.

Ecuador says companies join novel Amazon protection fund

By Alister Doyle, October 19, 2012. Source: Reuters

About a dozen companies are contributing to a novel conservation plan that pays Ecuador to protect part of the Amazon rainforest in return for barring oil drilling, the head of the initiative said on Friday.

Ivonne Baki said the scheme to conserve the Yasuni area of the Amazon basin, launched by leftist president Rafael Correa in 2010, has so far raised about $200 million, mostly from foreign governments.

“When I started last year it was only governments,” she told Reuters by telephone from Paris. “Now we have around 12 companies, and more are coming.” Individuals can also donate.

“It’s going very well,” she said.

Ecuador, an OPEC member, says that conservation of the area, which boasts one of the richest ranges of wildlife on the planet, means it will permanently forego 846 million barrels of oil and $7.2 billion in income beneath the jungle floor.

Baki said that corporate donors include Coca-Cola, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Japanese retailer Ryohin Keikaku Co, appliance maker Whirlpool, express delivery group DHL and Ecuador’s chocolate producer Republica del Cacao.

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