Ecuador's proposal to halt the exploration of an oil field in the Amazon region has drawn worldwide interest, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said Monday.
Many European countries have agreed to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa's proposal to halt the exploration of the Ishping-Tamboocha-Tiputini (ITT) oil field in exchange for a compensation to protect the ecological region, Espinosa told a press conference.
"Many countries, including Norway, have expressed their enormous interest in supporting Ecuador in this project, which may be a pioneer and leadership project of its kind worldwide," she said.
"There are over 100 non-government environmental organizations worldwide and governments interested in backing up Ecuador's proposal," Espinosa added. "When we talk about support we talk about financial support."
On April 14, Correa said his government's first option regarding the ITT oil field, located in Ecuador's Yasuni National Park, is to keep it unexploited and ask for an environmental compensation.
He added that if sufficient compensation was not granted, the South American nation would go forward with the exploitation of the oil field, which would demand a 5-billion-dollar investment.
Ecuador's state oil company Petroecuador said on April 13 that enterprises from all around the world have shown an interest in exploiting the ITT's 1-billion-barrel oil reserves.
Oil is Ecuador's single major source of income, accounting for some 35 percent of the federal budget. The country currently produces 550,000 barrels per day.