In the foothills of Ecuador's 3562 m Reventador volcano, workers are hard at work developing a new oil export pipeline route. This is because the existing pipeline route is under threat from the ongoing constant threat from the violent erosion of the Coca River after the 130-meter (426-ft) San Rafael waterfall collapsed on Feb. 2, 2020. If workers fail to complete this project in time, there are fears that that the existing pipeline could be damaged, resulting in massive environmental damage to the area.
In addition, the country’s power supplies are under threat. As the country’s power utility Celec is investing $100 million in structures to prevent the river from reaching a reservoir for the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant, which generates a third of the country's power.
If such an environmental disaster occurs this could harm the country’s newly installed President Guillermo Lasso's efforts to revive the country's moribund economy. He has pledged to double crude output from current levels around 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), which Ecuador's central banks says made up more than 8% of gross domestic product in 2020. Oil accounted for two-fifths of the Andean nation's exports in the first quarter of 2021.