The Peruvian government is reviewing a contract with Argentina’s Pluspetrol and is asking the company to leave a natural gas block in the Amazon rain forest after one protester died and 22 others were injured earlier this week.
Peru signed a natural gas contract with Pluspertrol in 2005 and is now asking the company to leave the town of Pichanaki after a deadly clash between anti-oil and gas protesters and police.
“I’m going to ask the company to leave Pichanaki within three days, the time it needs to go and take everything it has brought,” Peru’s Energy and Mines Minister Eleodoro Mayorga told the protesters.
The Interior Ministry is investigating potential illegal use of firearms by police during the demonstrations.
Pluspetrol kicked off exploration activity in block 108 last year and has faced mounting backlash from locals concerned about the environmental impact of the project.
Mayorga told Reuters the company has most likely complied with the terms of its government contract but the ministry will still evaluate the issue.
“I would like to know about advances that have been made, and if they’ve been made with all the permits this type of work requires,” Mayorga said.
Pluspetrol said that it has met all the requirements of its contract including inking more than 2,000 agreements with farmers and local communities near the block.
The Interior Ministry said Tuesday about 500 people “violently entered” a military base in Pichanaki that is being used by Pluspetrol.
The protesters made it to a section of the base used to store explosives, machinery and tents before police cleared the area with tear gas, the AP said.
An unidentified 25 year old protester was killed sometime during the clash after suffering a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Hospital officials said 22 other people were injured by what appeared to be shotgun pellets.
Two police officers and 16 civilians were also treated for injuries.
The Defense Ministry said no military personnel were involved in the incident.