Petroecuador declares force majeure at oil field due to protest

(Reuters) Ecuador’s state oil company, Petroecuador, has declared force majeure at one of its fields in the Amazonian province of Orellana due to a prolonged protest by an indigenous community over compensation to nearby residents.

In a statement published late on Thursday, Petroecuador said the force majeure declaration at the Eden Yuturi field in its Block 12 would have immediate effect and last until the protest ended. The indigenous Kichwa El Eden community has blocked access roads to the field since the protests began a month ago.

The field produces around 28,500 barrels per day (bpd) of crude. Ecuador in total produces around 500,000 bpd of crude and depends on oil exports for a substantial portion of economic activity and government revenue.

“This declaration has been made due to the high risks that workers are exposed to, as well as the state’s strategic infrastructure,” Petroecuador said in the statement.

The El Eden community has demanded that authorities reach a new agreement with the group for the continued extraction of crude from the field after a previous contract, which laid out details of the company’s compensation to the community, expired. There was no immediate comment from protest leaders.

Petroecuador has been airlifting supplies to the field in response to the roadblocks, and said that despite the force majeure declaration it would put in place a contingency plan to perform preventative maintenance to equipment within the block to avoid damages to the infrastructure and the environment.

Authorities have said they are in contact with the El Eden community to try to reach a deal.

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