Background briefing

Perenco - Oil company

Perenco is a Anglo-French company which has a huge oil project in Peru’s northern Amazon.

This is an area inhabited by at least two vulnerable uncontacted tribes who may well be destroyed by Perenco’s work there.

One of the groups is believed to be a sub-group of the Waorani and another is known as the Pananujuri.

No one is sure how many of them there are.

‘Miracle’

It is not difficult to see why Perenco wants to work in this region. The discovery of oil there is believed to be the biggest in Peru in 30 years – an estimated 300 million barrels.

During a personal visit to one of the wells, Peru’s president, Alan Garcia, declared the discovery a ‘miracle.’

‘We’re people just like you’

Barrett Resources, the company acquired by Perenco last year, recommended that its workers shout a number of messages if they came across any uncontacted Indians.

These included, ‘We’re people just like you’, ‘We haven’t come here to look for women, we have our own women in our own village’ and ‘Is something disturbing you?’

Perenco claims the area is uninhabited, but the Peruvian government, the Ecuadorian government, local indigenous organizations and countless experts have all recognised the presence of isolated Indians in the area.