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2 - Hidden Treasures

The Ecuadorean Amazon before Oil

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 December 2023

Maximilian Fritz Feichtner
Affiliation:
Independent Scholar
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Summary

Chapter 2 explores the Ecuadorean rainforest landscape, its inhabitants, and their first interactions with the oil industry before large-scale oil extraction started in the late 1960s. It starts by looking back at the millennia of gradual changes when the history of crude oil and the tropical rainforest environment started to intersect. An exploration of the geographical properties of the Amazon landscapes, as well as their flora and fauna including human inhabitants, visualizes the lively environment encountered by the first oilmen visiting the area in the period between the 1920s and the 1960s. Two multinational oil companies, the Leonard Exploration Company and Shell, undertook major efforts to discover petroleum reserves in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Even though their exploration programs failed in the end, their pioneering work of mapping and surveying the rainforest and its subsoil laid the foundation for large-scale petroleum extraction decades later.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Metamorphosis of the Amazon
An Environmental History of Oil Extraction in Ecuador
, pp. 27 - 53
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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