A case study about the interaction and management of PVIs with E&P activities in the upper Amazon basin of Ecuador was presented in an SPE paper at Rio de Janeiro Conference in 2010. We outlined the history of PVIs within the context of E&P activities in remote tropical rainforest, and the actions taken by stakeholders to understand and protect these vulnerable groups. This paper will provide an evaluation of the strategies that have worked or failed in protecting the PVIs during the past 10 years since the publication of our original paper.
This paper will draw on our own personal experience in the Ecuadorian Amazon, as well as interviews and publications on the PVIs since 2010. We will update the timeline of events and link those to specific policies that have been implemented by the government of Ecuador, operators in the oil company concessions, and other stakeholders. Interviews will be conducted with key decision-makers in the government, community relations professionals in the oil industry, academics and non-profit organizations (NGOs); to map out the evolving story of the PVIs and their prospects for the future. Information will be geo-referenced in a GIS system to better understand location of encounters with PVI, and how those may relate to E&P and other activities.
The PVIs continue survive in a NoGoZone (Area Intangible) that is surrounded and superimposed by oil company concessions. There has been increased E&P activity in the buffer zone of the NoGoZone during the past 10 years - including seismic exploration and drilling, road building, and construction of production facilities, which has resulted in additional conflicts, including violent clashes between oil workers, settlers and PVIs, resulting in injury and death. The government of Ecuador, as well as oil companies, have implemented some effective measures to prevent conflict, but with mixed success. Although there is some improvement in management of PVIs since 2010, the issue is generally left unattended by petroleum companies until there is a violent clash.
Proposals for specific solutions and more proactive stakeholder involvement and coordination will be presented, that need to be led by the oil companies and the government of Ecuador. It is hoped that this paper will generate more specific protective actions in Ecuador and in-depth discussions with SPE on how this complex issue should be managed worldwide by the O&G industry.