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Ecuador warns oil output could stop if protests continue

  • 27 Jun 2022

"The country's oil production will be suspended in less than 48 hours as vandalism, the seizure of oil wells and road closures have prevented the transport of equipment and diesel needed to keep operations going," says Energy Ministry.

Protesters reiterate marches will continue until President Lasso answers all of their demands. ( AFP )

Ecuador's Energy Ministry has warned that oil production had reached a "critical" level and could be halted entirely within 48 hours if protests and roadblocks continue in the crisis-wracked South American country. 

"Oil production is at a critical level. Today the figures show a reduction of more than 50 percent," the ministry said in a statement. 

"In 14 days of demonstrations, the Ecuadorean state has stopped receiving around $120 million."

"If this situation continues, the country's oil production will be suspended in less than 48 hours as vandalism, the seizure of oil wells and road closures have prevented the transport of equipment and diesel needed to keep operations going."

READ MORE: Ecuador military calls fuel price protests 'grave threat'

Drop in oil output 

Nearly two weeks of Indigenous-led protests against rising fuel prices and living costs have crippled transportation in Ecuador, with roadblocks set up in 19 of the oil rich country's 24 provinces.

Ecuador's economy is highly dependent on oil revenues.

In the first four months of 2022, it pumped 481,000 barrels a day, of which 65 percent were exported. 

The ongoing protests have led to a 20 percent drop in oil output.

READ MORE: Ecuador lifts state of emergency amid Indigenous protests

Protesters vow to continue stir 

President Guillermo Lasso, whose already-adversarial relationship with the national assembly has worsened during the marches, has offered concessions including easing security measures, subsidised fertilizers and debt forgiveness, and his government met on Saturday with Indigenous groups.

Protesters reiterated on Sunday that marches would continue until Lasso has answered all of their demands.

"The central issues have not been won yet," said CONAIE Indigenous organisation leader Leonidas Iza, adding that protesters want guarantees on fuel prices and a limit to the expansion of oil and mining. "We are going to return with results."

Lasso on Twitter called for peace and said a humanitarian convoy on the way to Cuenca was attacked with explosives and the city's hospitals are suffering an oxygen shortage.

CONAIE has tallied five protester deaths, while the government says four civilians have died during protests and two others died in ambulances delayed by blockades.

READ MORE: Protesters attempt to storm Ecuador's Congress despite concession

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