A group of indigenous protesters in Peru's remote Amazon region attacked two oil tankers with gasoline bombs apparently because they are angry about changes by the government to social oil funds.
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A dozen crew members from both tankers, one of which contained 40,000 barrels of crude, were also kidnapped by the assailants, according to a statement from Canada-based PetroTal.
"As of June 8, 2023, The Indigenous Association for Development and Conservation of Bajo Puinahua (AIDECOBAP) seized and are holding two oil transport convoys," PetroTal said in a statement.
"The first is an empty Brazilian convoy, with a crew of six and a total capacity of 70,000 barrels of oil that was traveling to the Bretana field. The second was a Peruvian convoy which contained approximately 40,000 barrels of oil and was destined for the Iquitos refinery.
"It has a crew of eight Peruvian nationals, none of whom are PetroTal employees. The company does not own or operate either convoy, both of which are being held near the town of 7 de Junio.
"During the hostile takeover of the convoys, a Navy sailor was injured in the head with a spear requiring minor medical attention. The Peruvian navy has been activated and will remain nearby to monitor the integrity of the vessels and health of the crew.
"AIDECOBAP continues to prevent the transit of ships in the Puinahua channel with a group of approximately sixty people and ten boats.
"The residents of Bretana have expressed their strong opposition to the blockade of the river system which has halted PetroTal’s operations.
"On June 8, 2023, The Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM) and the Ministry of Energy and Mines held a meeting with AIDECOBAP to better understand their claims and reasons for engagement.
"PetroTal was also invited to this meeting and a de-escalation plan has been actioned which is a positive step towards reaching resolution.
"PetroTal is working with all parties to help the Government of Peru generate a rapid, peaceful, and safe resolution to the blockade," the company said.
The company’s 2023 oil production forecast included planned downtime and a 5% social downtime contingency in its 2023 guidance to allow for social disruption. ■