Andes Petroleum restarts operations in Ecuador

Andes Petroleum restarts operations in Ecuador

Chinese consortium Andes Petroleum restarted operations in the Ecuadorean Amazon on Saturday after reaching a deal with local residents who had invaded its installation to demand jobs, the company said.

“The company restarted production and the pumping of crude. Normalcy has returned, local residents left the facilities and the electric system has been reinstalled,” an Andes spokesman told Reuters.

The consortium led by PetroChina Co. said production at its Tarapoa oil block had been slashed to 14,000 barrels per day from 42,000 bpd after protests began on Thursday night.

The company has restarted pumping oil through the private OCP pipeline that transports heavy crude oil from the fields in the Amazon jungle to the Pacific coast to be shipped abroad.

Protesters late on Friday released 40 company workers who had been seized after the invasion and reached an agreement calling for the company to provide more jobs.

Andes Petroleum agreed to give about 200 jobs and 256 temporary positions to local residents. It also will hire a transportation service from the local communities and resume education and health programs suspended in 2005.

The company gave no details on how much the agreement would cost.

The protest was the latest in a series of actions in recent years by poor residents of the Amazon jungle who say state and private oil companies fail to share enough of the wealth extracted from their land.

Andes Petroleum bought the assets of Canada’s EnCana Corp earlier this year and operates the Tarapoa oil block and other smaller block in the Amazon.

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