Two weeks after the autonomous territorial government of the Wampis (GTANW) launched a legal challenge against Geopark for infringing government quarantine regulations, the Chilean oil company announced its withdrawal from the concession on grounds of force majeure.

The challenge, for which GTANW had legal support from Earth Rights International, was the last straw.

Although Petroperú did not specify the conditions of force majeure, Geopark has faced determined opposition from the Wampis and Achuar since 2014, including rejection of the oil company’s environmental impact assessment (EIA). This led to USAID withdrawing funding for the base line study of the project’s EIA.

According to El Comercio, Petroperú has 30 days to decide if it has the capacity to take over its former partner’s 75% stake in the concession. The state oil concern is already burdened with neighbouring Lot 192, another environmentally controversial operation in the northern Amazon region.

Representing GTANW, Shapiom Noningo commented to Reuters, “this news comes as a relief but we think that the Lot 64 theme will continue, with the state seeking new partners. For us, the struggle will continue, it does not end with Geopark”.

According to Geopark, which also has operations in Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador, the company registered accountancy losses of some US$31 million in Peru during the first quarter of 2020.