• Short Summary

    Peru's plans to develop the giant Amazon basin, about 40 per cent of the country's surface, are being centre on one product - oil.

  • Description

    Peru's plans to develop the giant Amazon basin, about 40 per cent of the country's surface, are being centre on one product - oil.

    President Juan Velasco Alvarado, who has recently completed a tour of the area, says his country expects to find enormously rich resources. These resources, he says, will have to contribute in a decisive way to the development of Peru as a whole.

    But, although tests during the past five years have resulted in reportedly very promising indications about the presence of oil in the jungle, no oil has been found in commercial quantities.

    Early this month, (October 1972) hopes turned into disappointment at an oil drilling site near Santiago Lores, about an hour's flight west of Iquitos, the jungles biggest city.

    An apparent oil strike at the site had been headlined in the Peruvian press and was reported to have tapped an "unstoppable surge of oil." Crowds in Iquitos greeted the news of the strike with wild enthusiasm in the streets. The President and his cabinet flew to the site several days later a s news of the strike persisted.

    On arrival at the camp, known as Trumpeters, the President was told that because of water flooding the sub-soil, further exploration of the hole was Useless.

    The following day, Visnews cameraman Martin Davis, was there to film the oil drilling rig being hauled down before being moved to a new site, four kilometres (21/2 miles) away.

    So, the dream faded. But if oil is found in commercial quantities, the country is ready - Peru already has contracts with American oil companies in which peru would receive 51 per cent of the profits.

    SYNOPSIS: Helicopter have to make daily flights form Iquitos, the jungle's biggest city. They airlift in, and out, everything from equipment to food - everything rots quickly in the jungle because of the damp surroundings and heavy rain.

    The rig was moved to a new site four kilometres sway. A leading oil company official says the immediate objective is to confirm reserves that justify the construction of an oil pipeline across the Andes. This is reported to be high on the list of government priorities.

    Life for men on the rigs can be aptly described as "tough, lonely, but well paid". They work twelve hour days for six weeks at a time. They're often sick - the food's good, but it's easy to eat too much and stomach upsets and work accidents keep the camp doctor busy. The men are not allowed to bring in wives or girlfriends, and alcoholic drinks are banned. After every six weeks, they are given two weeks off.

    By now the rig is working at the new drilling site - with fresh hope of tapping the riches known to lie beneath the hostile Amazon ....

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
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