Ecuador asked OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) authorization to increase its production of crude oil this year above the quota that corresponds to the measures adopted by the cartel to regulate the market, said Tuesday the Minister of Energy.
With the latest resolution of OPEC and other independent allied producers, Ecuador had a production of about 508,000 barrels a day (bpd), below its current level of extraction.
“We are working to obtain a special concession from OPEC so that Ecuador can produce at least 530,000 barrels a day (bpd),” said Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Renewables, Carlos Pérez García.
“They have not officially given us the acceptance that we can produce more than our rate or that our rate be fixed in relation to our previous production, not the current production that was falling,” he added during a public act of accountability.
Ecuador placed the order last November.
Ecuador is experiencing serious liquidity problems, which requires higher revenues from oil exports. The country has been exploring this possibility since 2017, when it announced its intention to ask OPEC to exempt it from complying with the cuts, but then gave up.
Pérez said that the additional production will be obtained from the exploitation of the ITT block, the largest in the country, which is located in the vicinity of the Yasuní National Park. Authorities expect to increase production from the block this year from 71,000 bpd to 125,000 bpd.
Ecuador’s current production is 535,000 bpd, according to Pérez. In 2018, the country extracted some 517,000 bpd.
The minister also announced the construction of a new high conversion refinery of 300,000 bpd, which will require an investment of about 6,100 million dollars and will work in conjunction with the current 110,000 bpd Esmeraldas plant.
Perez said there is interest from several foreign companies in the new project, which replaces the previous one from the Pacific refinery, which was launched by former president Rafael Correa in association with Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA. (I)