Oil Exploitation

Introduction | Why is oil exploitation bad? | The law on their side
Why this Matters | Who are we? | How to Help


The Ecuadorian government and Petroecuador, the national oil company, have recently opened two new oil blocks, places for potential future drilling. These blocks encompass parts of the Napo, Orellana, and Pastaza provinces, which are the areas where the Kallari communities are located. The bidding process for a foreign oil company to exploit the land is currently on hold due to political conflicts, and local communities and national and international environmental, social justice, and indigenous rights groups are taking advantage of this extra time to fight the entry of the oil industry.

Why is oil exploitation bad?

Simply speaking, oil exploitation in the Ecuadorian Amazon is bad for the people, for the environment, and for the local economy. A brief look at Tenaās northern neighbors, oil-towns Lago Agrio and Coca, shows this problem. Reckless oil exploitation has caused contamination of the ground, rivers, and air. Both cities suffer from social problems such as malnutrition, prostitution, and crime.

Indigenous groups in the Amazon have a direct relationship to their land, and its pollution and invasion of oil workers (and colonists and missionaries who will arrive from the building of roads) have caused diseases, migration to the cities, as well as other negative impacts. This has also caused indigenous groups to abandon some of their traditional practices and systems of organization, which has led to a partial loss of their identity.

Petroleum companies in Ecuador exploits resources without paying attention to the negative impacts. The benefits are concentrated into only a few hands, especially private enterprises. This generates destruction of the environment and causes violations of human rights without creating sustainable investments in the communities.

The law on their side

It is a good thing for the people who live in the affected communities (as well as others), that this time, they have the law on their side. Hereās why: In 1998, the new Ecuadorian Constitution mandated that the Ecuadorian government has to conduct an extensive consultation process with the inhabitants of the affected communities before the bidding of the area could commence.

In addition, in November 2001, the International Labor Organization (ILO) recommended that the Ecuadorian government follow ILO Convention 169 (on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples), specifically Article 15. Article 15 declares that residents in indigenous and tribal communities have the right to be consulted before the nation-state enters into their land for the purposes of hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation. It also guarantees that the interested residents will be able to participate in the various stages of the process of exploitation and exploration.

In spite of the rights guaranteed in the Ecuadorian Constitution and the ILO Convention, the consultation process, carried out during September, October and November of 2003, was determined to be illegitimate by an independent investigation. According to a report by Meghan Morris, on behalf of Centro de Derechos Economicos y Sociales (CDES), the consultation process included lies, withholding of information, bribes, and threats.

Why this Matters

This is the first consultation process of its kind in the history of Ecuador, and will consequently be used to set a precedent for all future oil activity in the country. For this reason, it is vital that the illegitimate results of the consultation process ?incorrectly claiming that the majority of the inhabitants of the affected villages approve oil exploration -- are overturned. The consultation process needs to be conducted again, in a legal manner, so the indigenous people will be able to have self-determination.

Who are we?

We are the Kallari Association. The reason we are taking a stand against oil exploitation in blocks 20 and 29 is to assist the 500 plus families in our cooperative. They are part of the twenty-two communities that will be affected by oil exploitation in the region.

Local resistance

The Resistance Coalition Against Oil Exploitation in Oil Blocks 20 and 29 was formed on March 20, 2004, with the participation of the civil society and indigenous and youth organizations from the Pastaza, Napo, and Orellana provinces. The Coalition, formed as a response to the illegally-administered consultation process, consists of the following groups: Kallari Association, RICANCIE (Network of Indigenous Communities of the Upper Napo Region for Intercultural Living and Ecotourism), RECOKA (Network of Kichwa Communities of the Amazon), Rukullacta Cooperative, ACIA (Association of Indigenous Communities from Arajuno), Association Tuna Runa Miray, UNE (National Union of Educators) of Napo, Association Waysayacu, Municipality of the County of Loreto, Federation of the Neighborhoods of Tena, Parish of Cotundo, and the Youth Association of Archidona. The assembly resulted in a consensus rejecting oil activity in the provinces.

The objective of the Resistance Coalition is to promote activities to stop both the pre-bidding process and the entrance of the oil companies in the provinces, to inform the population and local organizations about the impacts of oil extraction, and to generate proposals from the local population to create equal and sustainable development.

You can help!

One way that you can help is to write and send letters to specific members of the Ecuadorian government, as well as the Ecuadorian ambassador in your country. All of the contact information is included on this page. In addition, there is a sample letter written for you to either copy, adapt, or use as a model. You can e-mail it, or print it and either fax it or send it through the mail. An individually-written letter mailed or faxed to the recipient will have the strongest impact, but a short e-mailed letter is effective, as well. If you are considering writing your own letter, you may want to see Amnesty Internationalās letter-writing guide, at http://www.amnesty.org/campaign/letter-guide.

Please send your letter to the following people:

Dr. Alfredo Palacio 
Presidente de la Republica
Palacio del Govierno
Calle Garcia Moreno y Espejo
Quito, Ecuador
Fax 593-2-2580751
E-mails addressed to President Guitierrez should be sent to:

Embajador Antonio Parra Gil
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Carrion 10-40 y Avenida 10 de Agosto
Quito, Ecuador
Fax: 593-2-2993273

Ing. Iván Rodríguez
Ministro de Energia y Minas
Av. Orellana N26-220 y Juan Leon Mera (esquina)
Edificio MOP
Quito, Ecuador 
To send an e-mail, go here:

Sra. María Isabel SAlvador
Ministro de Turismo
Eloy Alfaro N32-300 y Carlos Tobar
Quito, Ecuador
Fax: 593-2-2229330

Governors of the Napo, Orellana, and Pastaza provinces:


Sr. Prefecto Provincial de Napo
Consejo Provincial de Napo
Juan Montalvo y Juan Leon Mera
Tena, Napo


Sr. Prefecto Provincial de Pastaza
Consejo Provincial de Pastaza
Francisco de Orellana 739 y 27 de Febrero
Puyo, Pastaza


Sr. Prefecto Provincial de Orellana
Consejo Provincial de Orellana
Eloy Alfaro y 12 de Febrero
Coca, Orellana

Ecuadorian embassy in your country:
This link has the contact information of Ecuadorian embassies in selected countries http://www.learn4good.com/travel/ecuador_embassies.htm

Kallari Coffee Shop, E4-266 Wilson & Juan Leon Mera, Sector La Mariscal, Quito, Ecuador
Tele: (011-593-2) 223 - 6009

Kallari Office, Manuel Rosales, Tena, Ecuador
Telefax: (001-593-6) 287 - 0009

© copyright 2005, Kallari Association info@kallari.com