Maya Biosphere Reserve

Spring 2001

Anadarko oil company reverses development plans

In the spring of 2001 the Houston-based Anadarko oil company announced it would forgo all new oil exploration in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, a 6,000-square-mile ecosystem in northern Guatemala that forms the heart of the largest intact tropical rainforest north of the Amazon and includes four national parks and three wildlife preserves. Anadarko had operated oil facilities in one of the reserve's most sensitive areas, and had planned to expand its operations throughout the reserve, despite the fact that oil development had already contaminated wetlands and degraded forested areas. In response to pressure from BioGems Defenders, however, Anadarko decided to forgo new exploration. In July 2001, Anadarko sold its operations to Perenco, a French company which has not yet indicated whether it will honor Anadarko's commitment to limit oil development in the reserve.