Occidental Petroleum Corp. said Wednesday that it will pull out of Peru after its efforts to discover more oil reserves in the Amazon jungle were met with environmental protests.

Occidental, which holds drilling rights to more than 6.3 million acres in Peru, will focus on its operations in the Middle East and North America, the Los Angeles-based oil company said.

The move comes after Ecuador's newly elected president Rafael Correa said he wanted to negotiate a deal with foreign oil companies after the South American nation seized Occidental's oilfields in May. In addition, Venezuelan officials have said their country will be taking larger shares of foreign oil bounties while Bolivia plans to nationalize its industry.

Occidental sold its Peruvian drilling operation to Buenos Aires-based Pluspetrol SA in 1999, and still produces oil in Colombia and Argentina.

Shares of Occidental were down 45 cents to $49.67 early Thursday.

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