Peru: Environmental Reform Seeks to Boost Investment
Eleodoro Mayoraga, Peru’s energy and mines minister, said on Tuesday that the government is preparing a package of reforms to speed up the time it takes to obtain permits for investments. These reforms would include the exemption of the requirement to perform environmental studies for some oil exploration projects.
The reforms come as a way of tackling the frequent complaints from energy and mining firms who claim the process for securing approvals for projects in Peru is slow. Mayorga said the cabinet is also considering a more efficient way of implementing the “prior consultation” law that gives indigenous peoples a say on projects near their communities, and a new scheme for the distribution of mining and energy proceeds to local governments.
Many oil concessions are up for auction this year in Peru, and the companies who win them could benefit considerably from these reforms. Earlier this month, the government stated that it will launch bidding on six offshore oil blocks by May, and tender 26 oil concessions in the jungle by the end of the year.
The idea of exempting some oil exploration projects from carrying out environmental studies has met resistance from the environment ministry. In this regard, Mayorga told Reuters that “It’s not about trying to throw the environment ministry out the window, or the prior consultation law… it’s about making them work better.”