LatinNews Daily - 26 May 2023

In brief: Ecuador’s Petroecuador rattled by Yasuní drilling referendum

* The CEO of Ecuador’s state oil company Petroecuador, Ramón Correa, has said that a referendum on whether to ban oil drilling in the Yasuní national park could cost the state US$16.47bn in lost earnings over the next 20 years. A referendum on whether to permanently ban drilling in the global biodiversity hotspot is scheduled for 20 August, the same day as the presidential and legislative elections. In remarks reported by local media, Correa described Petroecuador’s Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oilfield complex, which is located within the Yasuní national park, as “our jewel” and presented statistics which he claimed showed the economic impact of the ITT’s potential closure. Correa claimed that leaving the oil in the ground would entail losses of US$13.80bn, while a further US$1.95bn would be lost in sunk investments made prior to 2023. He also claimed that the cost of decommissioning the complex would be at least US$467m, while the costs of lost employment and social compensation over the next 20 years would be US$251m.

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