Reporting by Alexandra Valencia
EnergiesNet.com 07 21 2023
Some 1,200 barrels of crude oil spilled on Ecuador’s northern coast, after a tank of state-owned Petroecuador surpassed its maximum capacity, contaminating a four-kilometer-long stretch of beach, authorities said on Thursday.
The incident took place early on Wednesday at Petroecuador’s Esmeraldas maritime terminal when a tank exceeded its 188-barrels capacity and started spilling the crude into a containment pool, which could not hold the hydrocarbon volumes either, causing crude to slip into the beach.
“It is estimated that around 1,200 barrels were spilled … not all of them fell into the beach. A part was contained by the pool inside of Petroecuador’s facilities,” the company’s transportation manager, Rafael Armendariz, said at a press conference.
Half of the crude spilled did leave Petroecuador’s facilities, tainting about four kilometers of Las Palmas beach, company official Armando Ruiz said at the press conference.
An investigation into the causes of the incident is being conducted, Petroecuador’s head, Ramon Correa, said, adding that negligence, mechanical damage and sabotage are among the hypotheses being studied.
Petroecuador has managed to control 90% of the impact on land and 60% of the advance of the stain in the sea by recovering contaminated material, according to officials.
The spill of light crude oil affected crabs and possibly fish and birds in the area, Ecuador’s environmental minister, Jose Davalos, told TV channel Ecuavisa, adding that he is awaiting Petroecuador’s final assessment of the situation to issue the corresponding sanction.
“Works to fully clean up the site could take a week,” Davalos said.
Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Leslie Adler
reuters.com 07 20 2023