Modifying the signed is more complicated than it seems. Ecuador has problems to reach agreements with the oil companies that previously bought crude, during the government of former president Rafael Correa. Petrochina and Unipec requested the inclusion of special clauses in the renegotiation.
EXPRESO learned that the companies tried to modify the renegotiated contract with Petroecuador by incorporating a clause that prevented the Comptroller General of the State from commenting on transactions with Chinese oil companies. That is, from now on, the highest national control entity could not point out irregularities in the procedures of the anticipated buyers of crude oil.
Similar treatment was sought with the Internal Revenue Service
The request came to the former general manager of Petroecuador, Carlos Tejada. He did not accept the proposal and that is why, at least in his administration, the renegotiated contract was not signed.
This newspaper tried to contact the former public official but, until the close of this edition, it was not possible.
The case was different with Petrotailandia. The oil company also bought Ecuadorian crude in advance but accepted the renegotiation and did not try to put clauses that shield its work. Therefore, in the second quarter of this year the physical documents of the renegotiation were signed.
In conversation with this media, the Minister of Hydrocarbons, Carlos Pérez, acknowledged the claim of Chinese companies, but said that the country will not accept the conditions that the Asian giant tries to impose. “It is part of the conversations that have been held but we have made it clear on the table that it is not negotiable. We have to abide by Ecuadorian laws and the contracts that are signed here are subject to this type of evaluation, “said the minister.
The initiative of the Chinese companies makes sense if the multiple observations that the Comptroller’s Office has over the contracts signed during the previous administration are reviewed. The operations with Petrochina are even in judicial processes in the General Prosecutor’s Office.
This newspaper published on January 2, the documentation signed by officials of Correa to facilitate the pre-sale of oil to Petrochina, Unipec and Petrotailandia. The money obtained, despite being negotiated by Petroecuador, went to the national government to “finance works for good living”.
In November last year, the comptroller also found a questionable informality in the contracts signed by the former Minister of Finance, Fausto Herrera, and former manager of Petroecuador, now in prison, Marco Calvopiña, with Chinese oil companies. No records of the meetings were found, there is no supporting documentation or technical studies to support the operations.
For the renegotiation, initiated last year, the methodology was modified. There are records and less than five people traveled to Houston, USA for negotiations.
The relationship with China is even more striking if figures are analyzed. In total, the government of Rafael Correa pledged 912.7 million barrels of oil for Petrochina, Petrotailandia and Unipec. All transactions included loans tied to projects that are now being questioned by the control entities.
In February of this year, according to Petroecuador, the delivery of 469.7 million barrels to the Asians was pending. (I)