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Italy Oil Co. Resumes Ecuador Operations

April 02, 2008
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The Associated Press is reporting that Italy''s Agip Oil gradually resumed operations at an Ecuador oil rig after members of an Amazon Indian community sabotaged it last week, paralyzing production for several days, the Oil Ministry said recently.

The shutdown cost Agip Oil, a subsidiary of Eni SA, some 90,000 barrels in lost production, the ministry said in a statement. It did not say how much the attack cost the company.

Two hundred soldiers were sent to secure the site after saboteurs vandalized an electrical cable powering Agip Oil''s installation early Friday. The facility itself was not damaged.

The ministry blamed the attack on Indian villagers trying to pressure the company into granting economic and social benefits to local residents.

Indians in this South American nation frequently mobilize demonstrations against oil companies to protest contamination of their lands and demand jobs.

Agip Oil produces some 28,000 barrels of crude a day from the jungle site southeast of the capital of Quito.

Ecuador is South America''s fifth-largest oil producer, with a daily production of some 511,000 barrels of crude.
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