seeks oil private-sector
Petroleumworld.com, Mar 05, 2008
state-owned oil company, PetroEcuador, wants private-sector
contractors to develop four fields
in the Amazon basin, backing off from plans to involve
government-controlled majors from Asia and Latin America
in the projects.
tender for the fields is planned to go ahead towards
the end of the first quarter, once environmental reviews
and production estimates are completed. The company expects
winning bidders to invest about $1bn (€660m, £500m)
in the fields over the coming three years.
are three companies in the market that can do what we want”,
including Franco-American group Schlumberger, and Halliburton
and Baker Hughes of the US, said Fernando Zurita, the navy
admiral at the helm of PetroEcuador since November, in
a recent meeting with journalists.
Despite the six-year boom in the oil industry, Ecuador
has failed to ramp up production. The industry contracted
by 9 per cent on the year in 2007 after the previous administration
stripped the US-based Occidental Petroleum of its concession
and handed it to an ill-prepared PetroEcuador.
Rafael Correa had previously said he wanted to enlist
the likes of China’s Sinopec and Indonesia’s
Pertamina in the fields. But the idea was dropped following
a lengthy meeting with PetroEcuador officials in January,
said Mr Zurita. “The plan to involve foreign state-owned
oil companies will not go ahead.”
Officials at the oil services companies say they have
been discussing the terms under which the tender could
work in the Auca, Lago Agrio, Libertador and Shushufindi
fields, which PetroEcuador says hold 2.4bn barrels of crude.
the mature fields, “PetroEcuador’s
plans are very ambitious. It would be better to start with
one field for a year and proceed from there”, said
one official under condition of anonymity.
a similar scheme, PetroEcuador officials on behalf of
the government are negotiating changes in oil contracts
with the six main private-sector companies. Rather than
sharing in the revenue, the government wants to pay Chinese-owned
Andes Petroleum, France’s Perenco, Spanish-Argentine
Repsol-YPF, Brazilian Petrobras and US-owned City Oriente
for extracting oil.
“Under current conditions, it is reasonable for
the government to look for these terms,” said an
official at a US oil company that no longer works in Ecuador.
The government is impatiently trying to change the rules
of the game in order to benefit from the high oil price.
Mr Correa recently gave the companies a deadline of Saturday
to agree to new terms. If the companies preferred to leave,
the government would compensate them for their investments
made so far, he said.
If it manages to meet its production targets for the year,
Ecuador will also need to wrestle a higher quota out of
the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which
meets on Wednesday, or break its 520,000 barrels a day
allotment just months after rejoining the cartel.
December, Ecuador produced 531,700 barrels a day, and
by the end of the year, PetroEcuador will have a daily
output of about 306,000 barrels, including the former Occidental
block’s targeted 107,000 barrels.
assets have been passed to PetroEcuador unit PetroAmazonas,
maintaining its private-sector structure
despite state ownership. That would allow it to retain
both operating efficiency and qualified engineers, said
Despite flirting with the private sector, however, Mr
Correa will not allow any private capital into the state
oil sector, Mr Zurita said.
Kueffner from The Financial Times
Financial Times 04 03 08
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