A team of specialists in various branches of engineering, lawyers and experts in public procurement will submit to a rigorous review and remediation more than 40 contracts that Petroecuador signed for the rehabilitation of the Esmeraldas refinery, for an amount that exceeds $ 1,300 million.
Thus, a third way of research was set up for hiring the failed project, which cost the State $ 2.2 billion. The public company Espe-Innovativa, belonging to the University of the Armed Forces, has been invited to carry out this task, within a period of six months.
EXPRESO raised a record of those commitments (main and complementary contracts, work orders, payment agreements, among others), formalized between 2008 and 2015 with nine suppliers. In seventeen of them signed by Petroecuador, Carlos Pareja Yannuzzelli, who is serving three prison sentences for illegal acts in the contract negotiations for the project at the refinery.
A network of corruption was set up there, leaving up to now 80 people prosecuted. The Office of the Comptroller General has established glosses for $ 130 million and 33 indications of criminal responsibility for $ 197 million, while the Office of the Prosecutor has opened more than 30 investigation processes.
The ill-fated repowering program, in addition to unfinished works, also left as a legacy irregularities of a legal and technical nature in the execution of contracts. The Petroecuador authorities have encountered problems such as noncompliance by contractors, additional unjustified values and incomplete work. Therefore, they have initiated processes of early termination, liquidation and closing of those commitments.
The state company did not provide details requested by this newspaper on points such as contracting pending payment and unilateral terminations of contracts. But he stressed that the results of the evaluation will be public knowledge once the task is completed.
EXPRESO also requested a pronouncement from the nine companies that signed the contracts. Only two of them responded.
Among the processes that report conflicts and that will be scrutinized are those subscribed with multinationals: four with SK Engineering Construction (SK E & C), for $ 717.7 million; ten with Worley Parsons, for $ 215.6 million; and three with KBC Advanced Technologies, for $ 149.3 million.
With the South Korean SK E & C, Petroecuador has a dispute for $ 43’595,007 “for deferral claims of stops and changes of law related to the works executed,” according to the state-owned company in an information sheet. The contractor was in charge of phases one and two of the rehabilitation, provision, installation and start-up of the project in the refinery.
Petroecuador must also establish outstanding values with the contractor regarding work done in the catalytic cracking unit. The Comptroller found in a 2017 audit that SK E & C executed work orders for $ 23,356,728.66, without prior authorization and without budgetary certification from the contractor.
The Australian Worley Parsons was hired for the audit of contracts and management of the rehabilitation program and for consulting services. Under the magnifying glass will be 10 contracts (three main and seven complementary). The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating five, based on reports submitted by the Comptroller’s Office.
On June 30, 2016, the contractor suspended its activity as the project’s auditor. Until August of this year, Petroecuador did not reach an agreement for the termination and liquidation of the contract, according to reports from the public company. The Attorney General mediated in this lawsuit, for which Worley Parsons notified the oil company about a possible international controversy under the treaty between Ecuador and the United States.
The Comptroller’s Office reported economic damages for the state-owned company after auditing the contracts with this supplier. The most serious, that there was no need to formalize two complementary to supervise and manage the project, because their items were already considered within previous contracts signed. Petroecuador canceled $ 48’783,916.36 for these items, observes the control body.
The oil company also has to resolve a problem with the English KBC Advanced, in relation to works established in the contracts to develop a plan of best practices for the operational technical personnel of the refinery.
The review of these processes will determine and justify the most relevant findings that determine the causes of contractual termination. A special examination by the Comptroller General found that in the economic negotiation a discount of $ 245,250 was agreed, which was not considered in the contract, which was finally signed for $ 99,863,500.
The oil company will be able to liquidate them and close them and contract works that were stopped or abandoned and that are necessary for the operation of the Esmeraldas refinery. Cost of the project, under technical analysis “The results of the technical evaluations seek to illustrate the status of the projects, compliance with international industry standards, the reasonableness of their costs and the improvement measures that could be adopted, with their respective costs, “Petroecuador said in its response to EXPRESO.
According to the entity, the Government has identified the need to strengthen the technical and financial management of five hydrocarbon projects, including the refurbishment of the Esmeraldas refinery. For this task, he says, he has requested the cooperation of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), “in order to carry out the agile, competitive and transparent procurement of a technical evaluation conducted by specialized international companies.”
Nolimit CAA revision work that added costs
Under the watch are four contracts signed with Nolimit, for the modernization of the sealing system, API plans, renovation and upgrade of pumps. The work at the beginning cost $ 35’567.616,87, but after the signing of two complementary ones it rose to $ 106’351.659. Sebastián Saa, general manager of the contractor, indicates that the contracts are still in execution.
According to the manager, “neither Nolimit nor its representatives are linked to corruption in Petroecuador, so they have not been called by the Prosecutor’s Office in the ongoing investigation processes.” Seso SA2 years in a contractual conflict Rafael Macias , lawyer of Sesmo, affirms that Petroecuador has not resolved for more than two years an extension of term and payment of payrolls, which has not allowed to terminate the contractual relationship.
That company received a total of $ 41,677,504.6 for two main contracts and three complementary contracts for two works: the rehabilitation of the water clarification system and the construction of a system for the preparation of artisanal gasoline. In addition, with the company Geincosolution, it formed the Conasa consortium, which was awarded three contracts for a total of $ 35’952 207,14.
Geincosolution CIA. Ltda.
Contract in previous investigation
The Geincosolution firm signed in 2013 a contract for $ 10’135.626,31, whose cost was increased by additional works. He was commissioned to build a new scrap yard for the Esmeraldas refinery and Petroecuador had outstanding values to be paid for those tasks. In an information sheet about the work, the oil company reported in April of this year that the contract was in the judicial instance of prior investigation.
EXPRESO received no response from Gustavo Gerardo Espinel, legal representative of the company, who was asked for a ruling. HM & HUna repair multiplied its price Hernández, Mancheno & Hidalgo IPC was in charge of the repair of three electrical substations of the refinery.
For this purpose, he signed an initial contract for $ 3,157,657.93. But four complementary and collection agreements for additional works raised the cost to $ 50 million. The Comptroller’s Office recommended to the Petroecuador authorities that they evaluate the prices of items paid in complementary contracts, as well as the collection of fines for breaches by the contractor. Wilder Mendoza, manager of the company, did not respond to a request for information from this newspaper. (I)