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Oil exploitation in Campo del Libertador, Ecuador


In February 2014 it was been announced that after 10 years of claiming their rights in court, farmers from Pacayacu, canton Lago Agrio, provincia de Sucumbiosm,have won a case against Petroecuador. The Campo del Libertador Liberator oil field is located in the Amazon this region of Ecuador, Sucumbios province. The court decision requires restoration and payment of indemnities, against Petroecuador, the state company. The Liberator field is composed of 10 oil subfields, was opened in 1980 by the Ecuadorian State Petroleum Corporation, Public Company EP Petroecuador today.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Oil exploitation in Campo del Libertador, Ecuador
State or province:Sucumbios Province
Location of conflict:Pacayacu County
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Water access rights and entitlements
Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Libertador Field production has averaged about 20,000 barrels a day, if we take into account that the countrys total production is currently about 500,000 barrels a day, we can estimate that this field contributes about 4% of national production. Oil from the field is light about 30 ° API (a unit measuring oil density)

Project area:10 117
Level of Investment:384,500,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:8 000
Start of the conflict:1990
Company names or state enterprises:Petroecuador from Ecuador
Petroamazonas Ecuador SA (Petroamazonas) from Ecuador
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Nonrenewable Natural Resources, Secretariat of Hydrocarbons, Regulation and Control, Hydrocarbon Agency, EP Petroecuador, Petroamazonas EP, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Defense , Ministry of Strategic Sectors
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Accion Ecologica, Committee Affected by Water Pollution in Pacayacu (committee President) [email protected], Tetetes Committee (no website), Human Rights Office of the Women’s Federation of Sucumbios, La Clínica Ambiental, La Agencia Ecologista de Información TEGANTAI
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Water users
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Those affected have created a permanent social assembly to solve the problems of oil pollution and lack of clean water. They started a successful court case.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion
Other Environmental impactsSoil destabilization and plugging watersheds due to seismic exploration
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsAbortions and congenital malformations
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women
Other socio-economic impactsEconomic loss by death of domestic animals and crop damage
Criminalization of protest
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Inhabitants ask that Governments would decide not to continue with Libertador field operations
Development of alternatives:Final closure of the sources of contamination in the area
Comprehensive repair including restoration and compensation in the area
Development of sustainable projects in the area
Development of alternative energy sources in the area
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The affected people of Pacayacu have undertaken different forms of struggle among these are:
86 families began a lawsuit for environmental damages in 2005
A group of victims filed a complaint in the ombudsmans office for violation of the right to water in 2011
The Committee affected by water pollution of Pacayacu maintains a permanent social assembly marches and protests
With these actions the population has:
A ruling in favor of environmental demand on May 8, 2013
A favorable resolution of the ombudsman December 28, 2012
Another favourable court decision in February 2014.
The oil company start environmental repair work in the area
That the municipality take the decision to provide drinking water for the population
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Environmental Management Law (July 1999)

Unified Text of Secondary Environmental Legislation (March 2003)

Hydrocarbons Law (Reform July 2010)

Environmental Regulation of Hydrocarbon Operation (February 2001)

Regulation for Social Participation (April 2008)

The Constitution of Ecuador (2008) which contains guaranteed rights of nature (Art 71), water right (Art 12), the right to a healthy environment (Art 14), and the right to life with dignity (Art 66.2)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Almeida A, Location map of the human right to water. Oil exploitation in the Liberator field. Quito, March 2011

OMBUDSMAN OF ECUADOR, - National Human Rights and nature Protection and Advocacy. Resolución Defensorial No. 15-DPE-DINAPROT-DNDNA-2012 CCS EXPEDIENTE DEFENSORIAL Nó. 5l 618-DNPrt-2011-JMR Quito. 28 de diciembre 2012

Maldonado A, Almeida A, Soliz F, Health Impact Analysis caused by oil pollution in the inhabitants of Pacayacu, Sucumbíos, February 2011. Universidad de Cuenca, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Acción Ecológica, Clínica Ambiental.

Bernal, Daniela. Psychological report on visit to the Libertador oil field. Pacayacu, February 2011

LIAP-CEAS Assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentration in drinking water in Pacayacu, Lago Agrio Canton, Sucumbíos Province, 16 July, 2010) Universidad de Cuenca, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Acción Ecológica, Clínica Ambiental.

EUPPSAE (Unión de Promotores Populares de Salud de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana), Health Diagnostic of Communities. Ed. Abya Yala. 1993

[click to view]

Maldonado A, Narvaez A, Ecuador is not and will be not now Amazonian country Inventory of oil impact. Acción Ecológica 2001

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Maldonado A, Almeida A, Atlas Amazónico. Amazon Map of aggression and resistance in Petroecuador blocks Acción Ecológica 2006. petroecuador 1.jpg
[click to view]

Accion Ecologica, Toxic Tour,
[click to view]

Maldonado A, Narvaez A, Ecuador is not and will be not now Amazonian country Inventory of oil impact. Acción Ecológica 2001
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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Other comments:Many actions related to the implementation of court case decision are currently being defined for the Liberator field.
Meta information
Contributor:Alexandra Almeida & JMA
Last update08/04/2014
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