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Erwin Cifuentes

Erwin Cifuentes

Erwin Cifuentes is a Contributing Editor for Southern Pulse Info where he focuses on politics, economics and security issues in Latin America and the Caribbean.…

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Ecuador Oil Reserves Climb to 4 Billion Barrels

Yasuni Oil Exploration

Ecuadoran Vice President Jorge Glas claimed that the country’s oil reserves reached 4 billion barrels following the drilling of an exploratory well in the Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini (ITT) field.

According to Reuters, the ITT block holds 1.67 billion barrels of oil, which is higher than the initial estimate of around 900 million barrels. The new discovery at the ITT field located near the Yasuni national park in the Amazon holds approximately 772 million barrels of crude and is valued at some US$19.5 billion, Glas said on Thursday.

The Coordinating Minister of Strategic Sectors, Rafael Poveda, optimistically believes production at the ITT field will start at 5000 barrels per day (bpd) but will grow to at least 20,000 barrels bpd in the end of this year. Glas added that output would further increase to 300,000 barrels bpd by 2022.

The Ecuadorian government started the development of the ITT site in 2013 despite criticism from indigenous communities alleging their rights were being violated and from environmentalists worried over potential damage to the Yasuni natural reserve.

For President Rafael Correa, however, profits from oil drilling in the Yasuni would help to pay for social programs to reduce poverty for residents including those located in the amazon region. Glas claimed earnings represent “wealth for all Ecuadorians” and the reserve serves as a “gift for future generations.”

Ecuador currently produces about 540,000 bpd and oil is the country’s main export product.

By Erwin Cifuentes for Oilprice.com

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