Ecuador deficit activates plan to tap into USD18 billion oil in Yasuni National Park
Ecuador President Rafael Correa said last month that the country would have to tap the oil sitting in the Yasuni National Park to ease state deficit. The park, which is home to the country's white-bellied spider monkeys and other biologically-diverse fauna, is sitting on oil worth USD18 billion.
The statement came amid Ecuador's ballooning budget deficit amounting to USD3.68 billion. Since defaulting from USD3.2 billion of debt four years ago, the government had been relying on multilateral lenders, pensioners, and even China to finance the country.
Correa was not singing the same song before. He launched a carbon-dioxide abatement plan for Yasuni in 2007 to the United Nations to block oil projects in Yasuni. Correa declared the plan a failure last August 15 after collecting USD13.3 million of the projected USD3.6 billion plan.
However, analysts had said that the oil drilling was a necessary step to address the bigger problem. Universidad de las Americas business school Vicente Albornoz said, "Access to new oil fields makes the country a better credit. The government needs more revenue for the future, so drilling in the Yasuni seems totally coherent to me."
Perhaps to appease environmental activists, Correa had ensured that the company-owned oil producer would be using "responsible" oil extraction measures.