Output from Peru's biggest oil block resumes after deal with natives

LIMA, April 28 Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:13am EDT

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LIMA, April 28 (Reuters) - Pluspetrol, the Argentine energy company, said Monday it was resuming production at Peru's biggest oil block after reaching an agreement with native communities that had occupied facilities there a week ago.

Output from block 1-AB in Peru's upper Amazon had fallen by 70 percent last week after indigenous protesters took control of oil tanks, roads and a thermoelectric plant in the Amazonian region of Loreto, the company said.

But since a deal was struck over the weekend, protesters have withdrawn, the company and a community leader said.

"Production has rapidly started to normalize," said Pluspetrol spokesman Daniel Guerra.

The oil block produces between 15,000 and 17,000 barrels per day, about a quarter of Peru's relatively small output.

Indigenous leader Carlos Sandi with the local organization Feconaco said the deal commits the company and government to cleaning up oil pollution, compensating communities for environmental damage and use of land and building schools and bridges.

"If they break their promise we will take security measure again in 90 days," Sandi said. "We resorted to this because we did not feel the government or the company were listening to us."

Pluspetrol has controlled the 1-AB concession since 2001, and Occidental Petroleum operated it before that.

Indigenous communities near the block, which has been pumped for more than four decades, have complained about oil pollution for years and say not much has changed since the government declared environmental emergencies there in the past year. (Reporting by Patricia Velez and Mitra Taj; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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