QUITO – Spanish oil major Repsol said Wednesday it plans to invest around $9 million this year in environmental prevention and remediation at the two blocks in operates in the Ecuadorian Amazon, a 10 percent drop relative to 2012.
Marcelo Mata, environment, security and quality coordinator for Repsol’s business unit in Ecuador, told Efe that the company’s environmental investment in 2012 totaled roughly $10 million.
The company plans to lower its environmental investment in 2013 as part of a “deceleration” of its operations in the South American country, he said.
Repsol is developing old, declining oil deposits and the drop in output means less investment in environmental prevention and remediation is needed, Mata said.
He told reporters that some 16 oil spills occurred between 2008 and 2012, the most serious of which happened in 2009 and affected some eight hectares (20 acres) of swampland that have already been remediated.
Mata noted that Repsol’s operations in Ecuador span five environmentally sensitive areas.
Around 26 percent of the land is within the Yasuni National Park, which is one of the world’s most bio-diverse zones and home to Quichua and Huaorani Indians and other indigenous communities.
Repsol’s contracts to operate Block 16 and the Tivacuno field, which have a combined area of 176,000 hectares (435,000 acres), are due to expire in 2018, although the company is looking for ways to extend its presence in Ecuador.
In November, its manager in the Andean nation, Luis Garcia, said Repsol wants to negotiate an extension of its current operations and is looking to participate in bidding rounds for new fields in the Amazon region. EFE