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Ecuador earthquake closes refinery

20 December 2016

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador's Pacific coast on December 19 killed at least two people, injured 15 others and stopped production at the Esmeraldas oil refinery, officials said. The quake’s epicentre was off the coast of Atacames in Esmeraldas province, northwest of Quito, the capital and was followed by 15 lesser-magnitude aftershocks.

The Esmeraldas refinery, - Image: Petroecuador,
The Esmeraldas refinery, - Image: Petroecuador,

President Rafael Correa met with local officials in the area, which earlier this year was devastated by a 7.8-magnitude quake that killed about 670 people, displaced thousands and caused millions of dollars in damage.

The Esmeraldas refinery, which has a 110,000-barrel-per-day capacity, was halted as a precaution, Pedro Merizalde, head of state oil company Petroecuador, told Reuters. He said refinery infrastructure would be checked over and that the stoppage would last about two days.

Authorities said three hotels in the area, a popular tourist destination, were destroyed, and other buildings sustained substantial damage.

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