Petroecuador reaches deal with protesters for access to oil field

QUITO, June 25 (Reuters) - Ecuador’s state oil company Petroecuador said on Friday it had reached an agreement with an indigenous community to end a protest that had been blocking access to one of its largest oil fields in the Amazon region.

The indigenous Kichwa El Eden community began blocking access to the Block 12 Eden-Yuturi facilities on May 10 to demand a new contract over compensation to nearby residents after a previous deal inspired. Petroecuador on June 4 declared force majeure at the field, which normally produces around 28,500 barrels per day (bpd) of crude.

Petroecuador said in a statement that as part of the deal to lift the roadblock, it would within 60 days sign a five-year agreement with the community to provide social benefits for some 1,000 people living in the oil field’s so-called area of influence.

Those benefits included financing for potable water, upgrades to electricity services, and improvements to a health center. The leaders of the protest could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ecuador produces around 500,000 bpd of crude in total, and depends on oil exports for a large portion of government (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Luc Cohen Editing by Marguerita Choy)