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ECUADOR
Avoiding contamination
10/8/2008
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Government mulls issuing bonds to not drill for oil on country’s largest nature reserve.

President Rafael Correa says his government may issue bonds in Europe to keep crude under the ground at the massive Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oil fields, located on Ecuador´s largest nature reserve.

In June 2007, Correa announced that his administration was seeking funding — US$350 million a year — to compensate Ecuador for not opening the ITT fields in the Yasuní National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. But the January cutoff date is fast-approaching, and Ecuador has not received the results it expected, so Correa’s government is looking at other options.

The ITT fields, Ecuador´s largest oil fields, are estimated to hold 1 billion barrels of oil, enough for 20 years of production.

In his weekly radio address on Oct. 4, Correa said that his government is in talks with the European Community “so that not only avoidable deforestation but also avoidable contamination” is recognized.

The Yasuní National Park, with an area of 982,000 hectares (2.4 million acres) is estimated to have 2,000 tree species, 800 bird, amphibian and reptile species and more than 160,000 species of insects. The park is also home to indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation, such as the Tagaeri-Taromenane, and the Huaorani.

Oil and Mines Minister Galo Chiriboga said in an interview with Teleamazonas, that even though the government is aiming to leave the oil underground, it must be “realistic.”

He said the government will start proceedings to call an auction for the field through state oil company Petroecuador by January if the country doesn´t receive the resources it is seeking.
—Latinamerica Press.


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