Peru: Oil spill, Jan 2022
 Situation overview

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The discussion will be updated again when there is new operational development.

An oil spill occurred on 15 January 2022 at La Pampilla refinery in Lima, owned by Spanish oil giant Repsol. The dynamics of the event remain uncertain. 

• The spill of an estimated 6,000 barrels of oil has been described as the worst ecological disaster to hit the South American country in recent history, causing “serious harm to hundreds of fishermen’s families” and “putting in danger the flora and fauna” in two protected natural areas, as highlighted by country’s foreign ministry. The situation is negatively evolving and the spill is rapidly spreading driven by the sea currents to the north.

• Repsol has mobilized personnel and equipment to respond in liaison with authorities. However, there has been public indignation at what has been perceived as the company’s tardy response as well as political pressure to respond. As stated by the Ministry of Environment, Repsol could face a fine of up to $34.5 million as prosecutors opened an investigation into the company for environmental contamination.

Situation reports

Flash Update n. 2 (27 January)
Flash Update n. 1 (23 January)
Background information

UN Press Release (27 January)
UN Press Release (24 January)
UN Press Release (21 January)
 Status of request for assistance

On 20 January, the Prime Minister and Minister of Environment of Peru issued a letter to the United Nations Resident Coordinator stating that the government, together with the operator (Repsol), is mobilizing all available resources to mitigate the impact of the spill. However, the consequences of this environmental disaster continue to be worrying. The government is thus requesting technical support from United Nations environmental emergency experts to assist the government in evaluating the socio-environmental impact of the incident, in the management and coordination of the emergency, and in initiating effective response actions to reduce the risk of future similar events. 

In coordination with the UN Resident Coordinator, OCHA Peru and Panama, and UNEP Panama, the UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit has dispatched a team of 12 to support with incident management and coordination, rapid environmental assessments and the review of any existing contingency plans to enhance preparedness for future similar events. The team arrived between Saturday 22 and Wednesday 25 January. The expected mission duration is two weeks, subject to extension as needed.

All external communication on the emergency and the mission is coordinated by the UN Resident Coordinator's Office.

Request for assistance