Indigenous protesters plan to shut down more wells in Peru's biggest oil block unless the operator, Pluspetrol, an Argentine energy company, agrees to pay compensation for pollution on ancestral lands, a tribal leader said Wednesday.
The Achuar, a tribe of over 10,000 people in the town of Nuevo Jerusalen in Loreto, a region in Peru's Amazon, have given Pluspetrol until Friday to respond to its demands, said Carlos Sandi, head of indigenous group Feconaco.
Indigenous protesters have occupied the site before over allegations of contamination in the Amazon. Another Achuar community, Pampa Hermosa, took control of more than a dozen oil wells in the block last week and have already halted output, demanding payment for use of the land.
Talks that started on Monday between Pluspetrol and the protesters from Pampa Hermosa have broken down and the community remains in control of the 14 oil wells, Sandi said.
Pluspetrol officials were not immediately available for comment. The company told Reuters last week that it was seeking dialogue to resolve the dispute.
Called 1-AB, the oil block now occupied by protesters produced nearly a quarter of Peru's total output in 2013. Last year, after indigenous protesters occupied block 1-AB in a separate action, oil output from the facility fell by 70 percent during the protest.
The government has declared environmental emergencies in the oil block several times in recent years because of high levels of pollution linked to spills and leaks.
Native communities blame foreign energy companies for dozens of crude spills in the Amazon rain forest, some on the territory of remote tribes, since the early 1970s. Occidental Petroleum began the work in Block 1-AB and Pluspetrol later took over operations, according to Amazon Watch, a non-profit formed to protect the rainforest and its indigenous peoples.
Indigenous tribes depend on the environment for survival, so contamination of the land and rivers directly affects their livelihoods, Amazon Watch said.
Al Jazeera and wire services