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Oil drilling in the National Park of Calilegua, Argentina


The Calilegua’s oil fields, in the Jujuy Province, started to be exploited in 1969 by the State company YPF. Even though the Calilegua National Park was founded in 1979 conjointly by the National and Jujuy’s governments, the oil drilling licenses passed through different owners and ended up in 2012 into the hands of the Chinese company Petro AP (JHP International Petroleum Engineering Ltd), which signed a memorandum of understanding with the JEMSE company (public and belonging to the Jujuy Province). Petro AP demanded a license in 2014 for multiplying its oil wells in the Caimancito field, in the territory of the protected area of Calilegua. By that time already ten oil wells were active while the forest rangers denounced around 24 abandoned wells polluting the Yuto stream, threatening the fauna, flora and the drinking water of the commune of Caimancito and the surrounding rural area. The Jujuy Province Governor Eduardo Fellner argues the activity will bring job opportunities to the region. The General Assembly of the Guarani Nation started to mobilize reminding that in the past being hired by multinationals has always meant low-paid jobs and poor working conditions for their communities.

In spite of local opposition, the license was renewed for 24 years and allowed the extension of the exploited area in the Caimancito field. On November 10th 2014, the workers of the National Park, together with the local bishops and a neighbors’ collective, sent a request to Eduardo Fellner demanding the cleaning up of the localities of Yuto and Caimancito and the cease of the exploitation of the oil reserves. The forest rangers of Calilegua have been denouncing the pollution of the site for the last decade. They also oppose the project and went on strike at the end of October 2015 calling upon the responsibilities of the public institutions for ending the oil company activities. The local inhabitants found an ally in Greenpeace Argentina whose national campaign stresses the illegality of such a project which violates diverse national environmental laws. During the year 2015 their campaign for Calilegua is being articulated around raising awareness about the threat upon the forest and its wild animal species.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Oil drilling in the National Park of Calilegua, Argentina
State or province:Jujuy
Location of conflict:Calilegua
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Crude oil

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Project area:21,155
Level of Investment:60,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Company names or state enterprises:Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF) from Argentina
Petro AP Company Limited from China
Jujuy Energía y Minería Sociedad del Estado Company (JEMSE) from Argentina
Relevant government actors:Administracion de Parques Nacionales, Jujuy Province Government, Fundacion Proyungas,
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace Argentina, Asociacion Trabajadores del Estado, Central de trabajadores Argentinos, Comisión Episcopal de Pastoral Aborigen

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Trade unions
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Oil spills, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Permit granted despite the violation of conservation laws
Development of alternatives:Defense of a local economy based on tourism which protects the native forest and its fauna.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Recent intensification of the local and national campaign against the oil drilling permit but nothing is less sure it will change the current policies' direction, despite such activity being carried out in a national park.

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Law 26.331 on Native Forests

Law 22.351 of National Parks, which prohitibs hydrocarbons exploitation in National Parks

Article 79 of the law 17.319 on Hydrocarbons

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Informe del jefe de Gabinete de ministros a la Honorable Camera de Diputados de la Nacion, Junio 2014

El lado oscuro de la selva, Explotacion petrolera en el Parque Nacional de Calilegua, Junio 2015, Informe de Greenpeace Argentina

Greenpeace reclamó en Jujuy contra la explotación petrolera en el Parque Nacional Calilegua, 2 Julio 2015

Los trabajadores del Parque Nacional Calilegua piden que se cierre un yacimiento de petróleo, La Gaceta, October 27th, 2015

Nuevo reclamo al Gobernador de Jujuy: cientos de llamados a Fellner para defender el Parque Nacional, Greenpeace, October 16th, 2015

Jujuy: fuertes críticas a explotación petrolera en reserva, June 3rd, 2014

Campaña por el cese de la explotación petrolera en el Parque Nacional Calilegua, Opsur, May 2014

Meta information

Contributor:Camila Rolando Mazzuca [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019



Oil well in the National Park Calilegua

Greenpeace Argentina

Demonstration calling Jujuy's Governor Eduardo Fellner to cancel oil drilling activities in the National Park Calilegua

16th October 2015, Greenpeace Argentina