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UpstreamOnline: Shell among Peru hopefuls

By Upstream staff

Royal Dutch Shell is among 37 companies to have expressed an interest in bidding for oil exploration concessions in Peru, according to Daniel Saba, head of state agency Perupetro..

Shell sent a letter of interest to the Peruvian government, said Saba, adding howeve, that he was not sure yet whether Shell would finally take part.

Saba declined to name the other 36 but said they were all large or medium-sized companies.

Companies have until 8 June to enter the bidding process for the 19 concessions and the results will be announced on 12 June, Saba said, adding he expected the number of bidders to rise as the deadline neared.

Saba played down complaints by environmentalists that the granting of the concessions threatened indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest, where much of Peru’s oil reserves lie.

“I don’t think there’s any big conflict. Rather, there’s a lot of propaganda,” he told Reuters.

Earlier this month, one group of indigenous Peruvians filed a class action suit against US company Occidental Petroleum, claiming environmental damage dating from its oil production in the area between 1975 and 1999.

The group said it would contest any further concessions granted to oil companies.

Peru is a net importer of oil but is developing fields near its northern border with Ecuador, and the government has said it hopes to transform the country into a net oil exporter within the next two years.

Last year, Perupetro signed 16 contracts for oil exploration and extraction, more than in any previous year.

25 May 2007

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