Work on the Eloy Alfaro Pacific Refinery will be completed in 2017 and be operational by the end of that year, according to President Rafael Correa.
The refinery and petrochemical plant will be Ecuador’s first facility for processing crude oil into petroleum derivatives including high and low octane fuels, diesel, lubricants, polipropilene, benzene, xylene, alcohol, instead of importing them.
Currently Ecuador spends about $3 billion a year buying these products from foreign refineries.
The plant is located in Manabí Provience, about 20 miles south of Manta. Construction will cost $12 billion dollars, making it the largest infrastructure investment in Ecuador’s history. Correa said construction of the refinery will create 25,000 short term jobs. Construction is financed by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
The plant will be able to process the majority of Ecuador’s oil production according to officials.
Government to cover U.S. import fees
Ecuador’s government told the country’s exporters that it will cover the full amount of any additional U.S. tariffs resulting from the loss of the Andean Nations Trade Preferences (ATPDEA) agreement.
Ecuador unilaterally ended the agreement last week as the result of pressure from U.S. congressman to deny asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Even before the Snowden affair, most observers thought the trade preferecnes would not be extended beyond their current term that ends at the end of this month.
Ecuador officials called the U.S. threats “blackmail” and an affront to national sovereignty.
The trade preferences covered about 6,000 Ecuadorian exports, including flowers, seafood and vegetables.
‘Buy Ecuador’ campaign pushes local products
Ecuador is promoting local buying as a way to reduce food prices for consumers, and get healthier food into homes.
The Ministry of Agriculture has announced a new campaign to directly connect Ecuadorian consumers and producers and promote local buying, called “Yo Prefiero” (“I prefer”).
The goals of the campaign are to support high quality agricultural products like organics, protect the environment, spread knowledge about conscious and local eating, and promote local cultures.
At the kick-off event official highlighted a collective from Colta, near Riobamba, that produces bean, barley and machica flour and sells them directly to consumers at market.
In addition to the in-country campaign, Ecuador is also promoting itself through exports. Many of the country’s agricultural products going overseas will bear a “Visit Ecuador” sticker.
Photo caption: The “Visit Ecuador” sitcker will be placed on exported vegetables and fruits.