The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Foreign state oil companies eye Ecuadorean oil beneath nature reserve


March 29, 2007

QUITO, Ecuador: State oil companies from China, Chile and Brazil have expressed interest in presenting bids for a large Ecuadorean oil field located in a jungle nature reserve, the president of the country's state oil company Petroecuador said Thursday.

The Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini oil field, located in Yasuni National Park — a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve — holds close to 1 billion barrels of crude, Petroecuador's president, Carlos Pareja, said in a news conference.

Pareja said Chile's Enap, Brazil's Petrobras, and China's Sinopec oil companies were expected to present bids on the fields, but he did not provide a time frame.

The government of new President Rafael Correa wants to develop the project "as soon as possible," Pareja said, adding that it is "extremely important to the economic future" of the impoverished Andean nation.

"It is inconceivable that there is extreme poverty and undeveloped wealth in the country," Parejas said. "I don't see how to improve the economy if we don't develop" this project.

Before he took office Jan. 15, Correa said he planned to expand the state oil company's role in production and commercialization of Ecuador's oil.

The country is South America's fifth largest oil producer, and pumps some 535,000 barrels of crude a day.

Oil is Ecuador's major export, providing 55 percent of its annual export income of US$9.8 billion (€7.3 billion).

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