In the city of Esmeraldas oil activities traditionally have had an important weight. In 1977 the first state-owned refinery was built to process newly discovered Amazonian oil. Since the beginning, the refinery has been operating with low environmental standards. It was a typical practice to dump its waste effluents into the rivers. As a consequence of this total environmental carelessness, it has a long record of environmental disasters such as oil leakages and fire incidents. One of these episodes was the SOTE (Oleoducto Transecuatoriano) oil pipes rupture and the subsequent oil leakage in February 1998. It happened few meters from the Esmeraldas refinery which suffered an explosion due to the gases emanating from the former leakage. The fire lasted one day and caused severe ecological and social damage to many inhabitants from the surrounded neighborhoods. As a consequence of this, one of these neighborhoods, La Propicia Uno filed a lawsuit against the refinery for damages not only for the fire but for the cumulative effects of daily contamination.