Oil spill sullies river in Ecuador

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 Oil spill sullies river in Ecuador

Petroecuador employees work on environmental cleansing in the province of Orellana, Amazonia, on February 20, 2011 © AFP/File Rodrigo Buendia

QUITO – (AFP) – A Petroecuador pipeline ruptured in Ecuador’s Amazon basin region, spilling 10,000 barrels of crude into a river and alarming locals left without fresh well water, authorities said Monday.

“Crude oil has been found in the Coca River … and equipment has been put in place to control the spill,” Environment Minister Lorena Tapia said.

The active Reventador volcano triggered the spill Friday, on Ecuador’s main pipeline from the Amazon basin region in the east, to a Pacific port on the coast, officials said.

Authorities in the town of Francisco de Orellana, with about 60,000 people, ordered well-water pumping to stop for now. Petroecuador on Sunday started bringing in large water bottles to hand out to locals.

Ecuador is OPEC’s smallest producer, pumping about 504,000 barrels per day in 2012. Petroecuador is the country’s state-owned oil company.

© AFP

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