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Learning English - Words in the News
09 September, 2005 - Published 11:13 GMT
Ecuador to discuss oil contracts
Petrol pump

The President of Ecuador has said that he wants to discuss oil contracts with foreign oil companies to get a bigger share of the profits. The announcement followed several days of public protests which almost stopped all oil production in the country. This report from Tom Gibb:

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One of the main demands of the recent protests was that Ecuador should get a bigger share of oil profits. President Alfredo Palacio said that at the moment Ecuador receives about twenty percent of the profits, while eighty percent goes to oil companies. He said that in the interests of justice and equality this should change to give the country at least a fifty percent share.

The government also complains that because of the way the contracts work, the country has not benefited from record oil prices. President Palacio, in a televised interview, said that he'd already been in touch with the oil companies, who were prepared to renegotiate their contracts. Oil companies from eight different countries, including the United States, Spain, China and Brazil, operate in the Ecuadorean Amazon. The country is the fifth largest producer in Latin America.

Last month protestors virtually paralysed the industry. The government accused them of seriously damaging the state's oil infrastructure, forcing the country to stop exporting in the second half of August.

Listen to the words

main demands
most important and strong requests

recent protests
public demonstrations that took place a short time ago

in the interests of
in support of

at least
if nothing else

record oil prices
oil that costs a lot to buy

in touch with
in contact with

discuss again

virtually paralysed the industry
nearly completely stopped the production of oil

oil infrastructure
basic system which supports oil production

selling and sending goods to another country

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