The Ministry of the Environment and the Amazonía Viva program of Petroamazonas will be responsible for the remediation tasks. Intervention will start this year. The oil spills generated in different areas of the Amazon, and whose responsibility is in legal dispute with the Chevron company, will be intervened by the Ecuadorian State.
The Government obtained authorization from the Justice to enter the affected areas and clean existing environmental liabilities. This was announced on Tuesday, February 26 by Carlos Pérez, Minister of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources, during the 2018 Accountability Report. “It is a request of the president (Lenín Moreno) that we clean that,” he said.
The request to intervene the zones was made about two weeks ago by the public company Petroamazonas. The Attorney General of the State, affirmed Perez, already gave his consent “because all the evidence that has been taken (for the litigation) has already been executed”. Petroamazonas, through the Amazonía Viva project, and the Ministry of Environment, will be responsible for the environmental remediation that will begin this year.
When asked if Ecuador would request the participation of Chevron, he replied that this aspect (legal) “is separate”. “It does not matter who you touch, we’re going to take on the remediation, it’s a request from the President. Even if it costs us, we will do it. It cannot be that the community continues to endure that there, “he said.
This newspaper requested details and implications of the process from the Attorney General’s office, but there was no response. In 2014, the Attorney General’s Office prohibited intervention at several contamination points related to the litigation with Chevron to keep them as evidence.
Of the 3.5 million cubic meters of environmental liabilities estimated in the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana, 2.1 million have not been able to be intervened because Chevron disclaims responsibility and Petroamazonas was prevented by the Attorney General’s Office. The Ministry of Housing should also participate in the remediation, as houses built over the contaminated areas will be demolished.
New refinery Given the stagnation of the Manabí Refinery project (formerly Refinería del Pacífico), due to disputes with Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, the government gave way to a new project. Under the account and risk of private investors, a refining plant with a processing capacity of 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day will be built.
On the table there are already offers from interested companies, mainly from Europe and the United States. The proposals range from the construction of three facilities (of 100,000 barrels each) to the integral repowering of the Esmeraldas Refinery, to produce EURO 5 fuels, plus the creation of an additional plant.
The location of the new project will depend on the winning bid. Its cost is estimated at $ 6,100 million and it will process heavy crudes. Petroecuador will carry out the public tender in the coming weeks, Pérez said. Meanwhile, in the land where the Pacific Refinery was planned to be built, in El Aromo (Manabi), a solar park is planned. (I)