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Petroecuador (Empresa Estatal Petróleos del Ecuador now called EPPETROECUADOR, Empresa Pública Petroecuador) [Petroleums of Ecuador State Enterprise] is the national oil company of Ecuador. It is a state-owned enterprise, founded on September 26, 1989. It is the successor to CEPE (Corporación Estatal Petrolera Ecuatoriana) which was formed in 1972.

It operates three divisions:

  • Petroproducción for exploration and extraction
  • Petroindustrial for refinery operations
  • Petrocomercial for transportation and marketing of refined products to the internal market in Ecuador.

Petroecuador is charged with managing the operation of the Trans-Ecuadorian oil pipeline network, Sistema de Oleoducto Transecuatoriano or SOTE, built in 1972 for Texaco-Gulf.

Industrial Accident[edit]

On February 26, 1998 there was an explosion and fire at the Petroecuador pipeline in Esmeraldas, a port city in northwest Ecuador [1] [2]

Controversy over impact on environment in Amazon[edit]

Petroecuador has been the subject of controversy over the impact of exploration and pipeline operations on the environment and Huaorani and Cofan indigenous peoples within the Amazon basin in Ecuador's Oriente (eastern) region. In 1964 oil drilling operations began to take place in previously roadless rainforest, carried out by a joint venture between Petroecuador and Texaco.

Advocacy groups such as Amazon Watch and ChevronToxico have attempted to document the oil spills, ecological damage and human impacts of these operations. Prof. Judith Kimerling [3] of CUNY School of Law in 1991 published a book Amazon Crude (ISBN 0960935851) which details many of these problems.

In response to these reports, a class-action lawsuit was initiated against ChevronTexaco in the U.S. over their involvement in these operations. A U.S. court ruled the case should be heard in Ecuador. A new action was begun in Ecuador in 2003. That case is currently before the Ecuadorean courts. In March 2007 Chevron issued a statement saying it would not settle the suit. Texaco's statement on the suit link

Petroecuador has been the sole owner and operator of the oil facilities since 1990. Sadly, Petroecuador has continued to damage the environment severely. In five years, Petroecuador had over 1000 oil leaks. Petroecuador has also failed to clean up sites that were its responsibility under the joint venture. [4]. Comparable national companies like Petrobras, Petro-Canada, Statoil and Qatar Petroleum have much higher environmental standards.

Between the years 1964 and 1992 the Texaco Corporation and years later PetroEcuador (a state-sponsored Ecuadorian company) carried on intensive oil operations in the northeastern region of the Ecuadorian Amazon. These operations affected indigenous and non-indigenous local livelihoods in the area by impairing the ecological functions and biodiversity of thousands of acres of land.[1] Today the effects of these operations have been investigated and through the dumping crude in open pits, burying oil extraction byproducts, and burning unwanted oil without proper treatment, cancer rates amongst indigenous and non-indigenous residence has increased dramatically with in a ten year time period.[2] As oil weathers, contamination occurs as aromatic compounds are released and invade surrounding aquifers.[3] In a screening done from 60 crude oil site around the world, the aromatic compounds benzene, toluene, and naphthalene were found to have exceedingly high effective solubility posing threats to drinking water health standards.[4]

These aromatic compounds (i.e. hydrocarbons) affected people’s cancer rates amid counties in the Amazon basin of Ecuador, where oil production was taking place between 1985 and 1998. A study showed statistical higher rates of cancers in men and women that live in close proximity to oil fields. Particularly, men exhibited higher rates of stomach, rectum, skin melanoma, and soft tissue while women exhibited higher kidney, cervix, and lymph node cancers.[5]


Petroecuador owns three petroleum refineries in Ecuador. Capacity is expected to increase due to the increasing demand in Ecuador and the U.S. (Ecuador is the second largest exporter of oil products of South America to the U.S.).

Refineries in Ecuador:

Esmeraldas Refinery (Petroecuador), 110,000 bpd (start-up 1978)

La Libertad Refinery (Petroecuador), 45,000 bbl/d (7,200 m³/d)

Shushufindi Refinery (Petroecuador), 20,000 bbl/d (3,200 m³/d)

See also[edit]

There are Wikipedia pages with this title in other languages. See the sidebar for links.


  1. ^ Sawyer, Suzana. “Crude Chronicles.” Durham and London: Duke University Press,2004. 1-294.
  2. ^ Dematteis L. Photo Essay: Crude Reflections from the Amazon. Yes! Magazine [serial on the Internet]. 2011 May 4 [cited 2012 January 5]; Available from:
  3. ^ O’Reilly K, Thorsen W. Impact of Crude Oil Weathering on the Calculated Effective Solubility of Aromatic Compounds: Evaluation of Soils from Ecuadorian Oil Fields, Soil and Sediment Contamination 2010; 19 (4): 391-404.
  4. ^ O’Reilly K, Thorsen W. Impact of Crude Oil Weathering on the Calculated Effective Solubility of Aromatic Compounds: Evaluation of Soils from Ecuadorian Oil Fields, Soil and Sediment Contamination 2010; 19 (4): 391-404.
  5. ^ Hurtig A, Sebastián M. Geographical Differences in Cancer Incidence, International Journal of Epidemiology 2002; 31: 1021-1027.

External links[edit]