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Ecuador’s Earthquake Becomes a Major Topic of Discussion at OPEC Meeting

People gather next to a collapsed house following an earthquake in Ecuador.Photograph by Jose Sanchez L.—AFP via Getty Images

A devastating earthquake in Ecuador has become a topic of discussion at a meeting in Doha, Qatar with some of the world’s largest oil producers.

The meeting brings together about 18 OPEC and non-OPEC countries to discuss a possible agreement to cap oil output and sustain prices. The New York Times reports that an ambassador from Ecuador, an OPEC country, to Qatar has said about the earthquake, “It’s a big disaster. We are very worried about the situation.” Ecuador’s main oil refinery is located near the epicenter of the earthquake, according to Business Insider. The refinery has been closed, but officials say that production remains unaffected.

The magnitude-7.8 earthquake took place on Saturday night. At the time of writing, 235 people have been reported dead and 1,557 injured. Ecuadorian Vice President John Glas, standing in for President Rafael Correa until he returns from a visit to Rome, assured locals in a press conference that the earthquake will not be followed up by a tsunami.

The Ecuadorian natural disaster is said to be about six times stronger than two that occurred in Japan earlier this week, killing 41 people. One professor of planetary geosciences, David Rothery, told the Times that it was “probably about 20 times grater” than the second Japan quake. He added that “there is no causal relationship between the earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan.”