Ecuador tightens security at energy facilities

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Ecuadorian state-run oil producer Petroecuador has announced that it has stepped up security measures at its facilities amid ongoing unrest in the country. 

The move follows a state of “internal armed conflict” declared by Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa on Tuesday, after gunmen stormed a TV station and attacked police officers around the country. More than a dozen attackers have since been detained, while all of the hostages were rescued, according to national police chief Cesar Augusto Zapata Correa. Violence erupted across the country after a well-known gang leader disappeared from prison this week.

In a statement on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, Petroecuador said its refineries, oil fields, pipelines, and terminals have been placed under special control. The measures were taken to protect personnel and ensure uninterrupted operations, the energy firm stated.

“At the moment, EP Petroecuador’s operations are carried out normally on a national scale. We will keep you updated,” the statement added.

Ecuador’s oil production is regularly affected by protests and power outages. On December 29, Petroecuador declared force majeure for operations at the Ishpingo field in the Amazon region due to protests by indigenous communities.

The leaders of the Waorani Kawymeno community said at the time that they were protesting for the future of their children, as they wanted proper healthcare, infrastructure, and education services. The protests impacted operations at the field, reducing oil output by some 17,000 barrels per day (bpd), the company said.

In October, Petroecuador reported a drop in oil production due to protests by local communities at the Auca oil field, also located in Orellana in the Amazon region. Petroecuador is the country’s top oil producer, accounting for an estimated 80% of Ecuador’s output via its subsidiary Petroamazonas.

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