Oil production in Ecuador is at a “critical level” and will cease within 48 hours if protests and blockades continue in the country, the Ecuadorian energy ministry said on Sunday.
“If this situation continues, the country’s oil production will be suspended in less than 48 hours, as vandalism, seizure of wells and road closures have prevented the transport of supplies and diesel necessary to maintain operations,” said the ministry in a statement.
“Oil production is at a critical level”, after almost two weeks of indigenous protests against the high cost of living, with roadblocks and roadblocks in 19 of the country’s 24 provinces, according to the same ministry.
“Today, the figures show a decrease of more than 50%” in production, which until June 12 was around 520,000 barrels per day.
Ecuador has significant hydrocarbon resources, concentrated in its Amazonian provinces, and oil is its primary export product.
Nearly 14,000 indigenous demonstrators are mobilized across the country to protest against the rising cost of living and demand in particular a drop in fuel prices, according to the police, who estimate their number at nearly 10,000 in the capital .
Shortages are already being reported in Quito, where prices have soared and many markets remain closed.
The violence between demonstrators and police left five dead, according to a human rights NGO. Some 500 people were injured – civilians, police and soldiers – according to various sources.
On Sunday, “the economic losses as a whole, between the public productive sectors such as the oil sector and the private productive sector, amounted to 500 million dollars”, specified today the Minister of Production, Julio José Prado.
“Each additional day of downtime represents 40 to 50 million dollars lost,” said Mr. Prado.
“In the dairy industry, there is a loss of 8.5 million liters of milk, which represents 13 million dollars. In the agricultural and livestock sector, the losses exceed 90 million dollars”, detailed the Minister, speaking of “an extreme crisis in the poultry sector, which die in very large numbers or are slaughtered for lack of food.
“In the floriculture sector, the 12 days of shutdown resulted in $30 million in losses and damage to trucks and flower farms.” The tourism sector is “another extremely affected sector, with cancellations around 80% and losses amounting to at least $50 million”.