Ecuador Says Foreign Activists Won't Stop Oil Line

Quito, Ecuador - Ecuador's president Gustavo Noboa lashed
out on Thursday at foreign environmental activists seeking to halt a $1.1
billion crude pipeline project seen as key to the country's economy.

Members of Greenpeace visited the Andean nation this week and said they're
pressuring German bank WestLB to pull a $900 million credit for a project
they say is destroying broad swaths of pristine forest.

The 314-mile (503 km) pipeline is expected to more than double crude
transport capacity to 850,000 barrels per day, bringing fresh oil revenues
and boosting economic growth.

"It's not possible for us to let four or five Germans from Greenpeace tell
Ecuadoreans who are dying of hunger that we have to die of hunger, while
people from the first world come to the third world rosy and well-fed,"
Noboa told reporters.

"We have made diplomatic contacts, and there is no problem with financing
for the pipeline," he said.

Local environmentalists argue that the pipeline will damage a protected
forest that is home to unique bird species, and promote oil exploration in
the ecologically sensitive Amazon jungle.

Ecuador signed an agreement last year for private consortium OCP Ecuador SA
to build the heavy-crude pipeline, slated for completion in 2003.
OCP is made up of Alberta Energy Co. Ltd. (Toronto:AEC.TO - news), Agip
Petroleum , Kerr-McGee (NYSE:KMG - news), Occidental Petroleum Corp.
(NYSE:OXY - news), Spain's Repsol-YPF and Argentina's Perez Companc and
construction firm Techint.

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