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Oil is crucial to Ecuador's relatively small economy of about US$250bn in annual GDP, making up around 35% of tax revenue and 60% of total exports. Today it is the smallest member of OPEC, with production that has stagnated at around 500,000 barrels per day (bdp) since 2007. In conjunction with its economic importance, oil is also the primary source of energy in Ecuador, representing 76% of the country's total energy consumption in 2012. Ecuador, like OPEC partner Venezuela, has seen its energy sector close to the rest of the world over the last decade. Under the leadership of Rafael Correa, the state has defaulted on its international debt, expropriated assets, and changed oil contracts to service agreement, which has led to capital flight, a lack of capable professionals, and the exit of a number of companies, including oil firms such as Noble Energy, and Petrobras. But perhaps the most high profile issue in Ecuador is the opening up of the ITT-Yasuní national park for exploration and production, where the country's best new oil resource lies.

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