August 24, 2011 / 6:22 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 5-Strong 7.0-magnitude quake shakes Peruvian Amazon

* Epicenter of earthquake strikes remote jungle town

* No immediate reports of damage, injuries from quake

* Buildings shake in Lima, Brazil; oil operations normal

* Most powerful quake to hit Peru in four years (Adds comment from Brazil’s Petrobras)

By Caroline Stauffer and Marco Aquino

LIMA, Aug 24 (Reuters) - A strong earthquake struck a remote Amazon region of Peru on Wednesday, shaking buildings far away in the capital and in neighboring Brazil, although no injuries or damage were reported.

The 7.0-magnitude quake’s epicenter was near the town of Pucallpa, which lies some 600 km (370 miles) from Lima in a sparsely populated central-eastern region close to the Brazilian border, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

“There have been no damages reported, either to structures or to people,” said Javier Urrelo, head of the government’s civil defense agency in the Ucayali region, where Pucallpa is located.

Energy companies in the area, which produces some oil and natural gas, said their facilities were operating normally.

It was the most powerful earthquake to hit the Andean country since a 7.9-magnitude temblor killed more than 500 people and destroyed thousands of houses in 2007.

One seismologist said the depth of Wednesday’s quake -- 145 km (90 miles) -- meant damage was unlikely.

Across the nearby border in the Brazilian city of Cruzeiro do Sul, journalist Nelson Liano was in a supermarket at the time of the quake and said some goods fell off the shelves. “It was that sensation when you’re on a boat and it rocks,” he told Reuters.

    In Peru’s coastal capital of Lima, office buildings shook and mobile phone services were interrupted.

    Local radio bulletins said the quake caused alarm across central Peru, sending panicked students and workers rushing out of classrooms and offices.

    Earthquake-prone Peru is a leading metals exporter, but the region hit on Wednesday is not a mining area.

    Leading Peruvian miner Southern Copper (SPC.LM)(SCCO.N), which is controlled by Grupo Mexico (GMEXICOB.MX), said its operations in southern parts of the country were not affected.

    Energy companies are more active in the region where the quake hit. Pucallpa is the terminus for an oil pipeline from the Ganso Azul fields, but operators said it was transporting fuel normally.

    A source at Maple Energy Public Ltd Co MPLE.L said its oil refinery in the town was also functioning properly, and U.S.-based Duke Energy (DUK.N) said its nearby gas plant was operating normally.

    Spain’s Repsol (REP.MC), which has operations in the area, could not be immediately reached for comment. Brazil’s Petrobras (PETR4.SA), which has a natural gas exploration project in Peru, said it had received no information about damage to operations or equipment there. (Additional reporting by Bruno Marfinati, Brian Ellsworth, Raymond Colitt and Alexandre Caverni in Brazil; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Paul Simao and Kieran Murray)

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