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Ecuador's President Rafael Correa called for compensation to the Andean country for not developing its largest oilfield in the Amazon jungle.
The world should pay Ecuador at least $350 million in exchange for leaving intact the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha field, known as ITT, Correa said today. The ITT field, which has an estimated 1 billion barrels of crude oil reserves, overlaps Ecuador's 900,000-hectare Yasuni National Park.
``They're not paying for the oxygen from Yasuni, which is enjoyed for free,'' Correa said in a statement posted on the government Web site. ``Ecuador will make an immense sacrifice and leave the oil in the ground, but we demand co-responsibility, not charity.''
PetroEcuador, Ecuador's state-owned oil company, had planned to seek bids to develop the 190,000-hectare oilfield, saying 14 companies including Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4), Total SA (FP), China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (600028), and Indian Oil Corp. (IOCL), are interested. The bid round has drawn protests from Ecuadorian environmental groups.
The ITT field would generate $3.8 billion in revenue, helping finance health and education programs in Ecuador, said Correa, who won election in November on pledges to increase public spending. Crude exports are the main export earner for Ecuador, South America's fifth-largest oil producer.
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