Abstract

The development of the gas fields in the Peruvian Amazon jungle required the construction of new pipelines in previously unexplored tropical forest, which faced unexpected logistic and operative difficulties, including several leaks and ruptures. This article briefly describes those early failures and how collaboration among people with notably different interests, work cultures and idiosyncrasies could eventually handle the pressure by regulatory agencies, shareholders, media, environmental NGOs and political parties. All failures in the forest were due to soil movements, related to a poor understanding of topological and geotechnical characteristics of the hilly forest, and how water flow influenced soil stability. The reasons for public outrage after these failures are discussed, including politically fueled nationalistic sentiments, transnationally-driven natural resource exploitation, and indigenous power struggles. The oil & gas development was itself the main reason for most trouble, but leaks and failures severely weakened the position of the operator, which then implemented some methods to regain public consensus.

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