Ecuador Internacional

Controversial Ecuador oil deal lets China stake an $80-million claim to pristine Amazon rainforest

Los Angeles Times - Jonathan Kaiman 02/02/2016

Foto: JuicioCrudo

Foto: JuicioCrudo

They tried talks. They tried letters. They tried protests. But nothing could stop the deal.

Ecuador’s government sold oil exploration rights in a remote corner of the Amazon rainforest to a consortium of Chinese state-owned oil companies this week, despite dogged resistance from indigenous groups in the South American country who fear they could lose everything.

Andes Petroleum Ecuador, a consortium of two Chinese state-owned firms — China National Petroleum Corp. and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. — on Wednesday purchased the rights to explore two oil blocks in the Amazon that cover an area of 500,000 acres, 1.5 times the size of the city of Los Angeles. The deal was worth about $80 million, according to the research firm Energy Intelligence.

Experts and activists fear that the deal could destroy a pristine rainforest ecosystem and threaten unique, endangered cultures, including two isolated indigenous tribes.

“That’s essentially the only Amazon in Ecuador that hasn’t been devastated by oil operations,” said Adam Zuckerman, environmental and human rights campaigner at the Oakland-based nonprofit Amazon Watch.

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Fuente Original