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Ecuador's state oil firm defends practices after European lenders exit Amazon oil trade

QUITO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Ecuador’s state-run oil company, Petroecuador, on Tuesday responded to the exit of several big European banks from financing the Amazon oil trade by saying it compensates communities for environmental impact associated with infrastructure development.

In a statement, Petroecuador said that it “carries out exploration, production, transport, refining ... and marketing of hydrocarbons in rigorous compliance with Ecuadorean legislation on safety, health and environment.”

Petroecuador added that any project license issued required the participation and consultation of local communities, noting that compliance is audited biannually by “qualified environmental consultants.”

On Monday, Credit Suisse, Dutch lender ING and France’s BNP Paribas said they have decided to stop financing trade in crude oil from Ecuador, after pressure from environmentalists aiming to protect the Amazon rainforest.

An August report by advocacy groups Stand.earth and Amazon Watch named six European banks as major financiers of Ecuadorean oil exports to U.S. refineries.

Indigenous leaders said the banks’ role made them complicit in oil spills, violations of land rights and the destruction of rainforest by Ecuador’s oil industry. (Reporting by Sarah Kinosian Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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