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ECUADOR
Yasuní: Exploring opposing options
4/14/2010
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Government seeks funding to keep oil underground, but still studies drilling.

Ecuador is continuing to seek funding to keep the close to 1 billion barrels of oil underground in the country´s largest nature reserve, courting funding from governments to Hollywood.

The country wants US$3.6 billion over 13 years to keep the 926 million barrels intact, the proven reserves of the Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini fields, which sit in the Yasuní National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, one the most biodiverse areas on the planet and home to 6,000 indigenous Ecuadorians – some of which live in voluntary isolation – and 3,000 settlers.

“The government and people have said that this wealth shouldn´t be exploited, even though the crude could be used for the development of a poor country like Ecuador,” said Vice President Lenin Moreno, during a cruise to the Galapagos Islands with US actors including Edward Norton, Chevy Chase, Glenn Close and Leonardo DiCaprio to support the initiative.

Moreno said Germany, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Turkey have pledged support for Ecuador not to drill.

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last December, eight European countries agreed to give $1.7 billion to a fund managed by the United Nations Development Program in exchange for Ecuador´s not drilling on the fields. But President Rafael Correa turned the agreement down, arguing it was an “attack on “national sovereignty.”

Ecuador´s government is studying a plan to drill on the fields if they fail to gather the money outlined in the initiative, Germánico Pinto, the minister of nonrenewable resources, said in a recent press conference.

In March, state oil company Petroecuador sought an environmental permit for drilling in the fields.
—Latinamerica Press.


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