Pungarayacu oil block, Ecuador


In October 2008, the Ecuadorian government signed a contract with the petroleum company IVANHOE ENERGY Ec. INC for the exploration and exploitation of Block 20, known as the Pungarayacu project in the province of Napo in the Amazon region. This project is juxtaposed with the kichwa indigenous peoples territory, as well as with the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve. There was a huge controversy over the way the government preceded, given that it did not carry out a process of previous consultation to obtain previous and informed consent from the affected Kichwa population. The only thing the company did was to socialize the environmental impact study and the environmental management plan for the first phase of the project in 2009. As a consequence, some communities in the area have been mobilizing in opposition to the project. As a precedent, in 2004 various organizations from the same area formed the Front of Resistance to the Irrational Exploitation of Natural Resources, due to a previous consultation process driven by the government in relation to Block 20 together with the already disappeared Block 29.

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Basic Data
NamePungarayacu oil block, Ecuador
SiteArchidona, Tena, Carlos Arosemena
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific Commodities
Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsA new review, prepared by leading industry consultant Gaffney, Cline and Associates (GCA) in September 2009, concludes that the Pungarayacu Project contains a best estimate of 6.4 billion barrels of original oil-in-place
Project Area (in hectares)110
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date2008
Company Names or State EnterprisesIvanhoe Energy Ecuador Inc. from Canada - a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ivanhoe Energy Latin America Inc. and is responsible for the companys activities in Ecuador
Relevant government actorsEnvironment Ministry, Petroecuador and Petroproduccion
International and Financial InstitutionsInternational Labour Organization (ILO)
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAccion Ecolgica, Fundacion Regional de Asesora en Derechos Humanos-Inredh (Regional Human Rights Advisory Foundation)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responsethe development of the oil block
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The government issued this block without the consent of local inhabitants. Even worse, the government did not undertake prior consultation, required as the affected population are indigenous communities.
Sources and Materials

Environmental Management Law

Ecuadorian Constitution (2008)

Convention n 169 of the International Labour Organization

Executive Decree 10140 and Ministerial Agreement 112.


Varela, Rodrigo. El modelo extractivista vs modelo de desarrollo comunitario. El Pueblo Indgena Kichwa de Rukullakta y su peticin ante la CIDH. INREDH. In:. (accsessed in May 12, 2012).
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ECOSAMBITO. 2011. Resumen Ejecutivo (Comprimido) del EIA para la Perforacin de 11 Pozos Exploratorios y de Avanzada y Pruebas de Produccin. In: (accessed in May 12, 2012).
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Meta Information
ContributorSara Latorre
Last update08/04/2014