Petroecuador guilty of environmental damage, Orellana, Ecuador


Angel Najera was a peasant from the community of San Francisco in the parish of Ines Arango in the Amazonian province of Orellana. This area has a long-standing record of oil exploitation and contamination. Since Texacos withdrawal in 1990, the state-owned company Petroecuador has been operating in this area. In 2005 and 2006 there were several huge oil spills which affected the area as well as surrounded water sources. As a consequence of this long-standing trajectory of environmental contamination and exposition to toxic substances, Arangos family suffered many health problems. Moreover, part of his livestock died because of drinking polluted water. Facing this situation a formal complain went to the National Direction of Environmental Protection which concluded that Najeras property was seriously contaminated and called on Petroecuador to proceed with remediation works. Yet, Petroecuador did not clean up the area, only paid 3000 USD in compensatin. In response, Najera filed a lawsuit against Petroecuador which went to the Constitutional Court who ruled in his favour (court decision written by Nina Pacari).

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Basic Data
NamePetroecuador guilty of environmental damage, Orellana, Ecuador
ProvinceFrancisco de Orellana
SiteInes Arango
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific Commodities
Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2005
Company Names or State EnterprisesPetroecuador from Ecuador
Petrocomercial from Ecuador
Relevant government actorsNational Direction of Environmental Protection (DINAPA)., Ministry of Non-Renewable Natural Resources
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFundacion Regional de Asesora en Derechos Humanos-Inredh (Regional Human Rights Advisory Foundation), Accion Ecologica
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Development of AlternativesThe Chevron Texaco case in Ecuador is well known, but there are also many complaints against Petroecuador and other companies. This case is an important precedent.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The Court finally acknowledged the ecological and health damage because of the harsh conditions they live under.
Sources and Materials

Law on hydrocarbon

Ecuadorian Constitution

Law of Prevention and Control of Environmental Contamination


Guaranda Mendoza, Wilton. Acciones judiciales por derrames de petrleo. Anlisis de casos de justicialidad ambiental. In:
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Tribunal Constitucional Ecuador. Resolucin caso N 0535-2007-RA


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Meta Information
ContributorSara Latorre
Last update08/04/2014