The jewel in the crown has fissures. The extraction of oil in the Yasuní natural park presents complications that raise the price of hydrocarbon production. For each barrel, for the separation of liquids, you can raise the price by about a dollar and a half.
Daily, according to information from the public company Petroamazonas, some 74,000 barrels of crude are produced in the ITT enabled fields (Ishpingo, Tiputini and Tambococha). Of water, instead, about 220,000 barrels are extracted, in the same place. Almost three times more.
For the authorities of the sector and oil experts, the extraction of water is part of the process. Above all, they say, because of the location and geological conditions of ITT. However, they recognize, the costs increase when it is necessary to separate water and oil to transport the non-renewable resource through the pipes of the Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline (OCP).
On a daily basis, Petroamazonas has to send the total production (crude oil, gas and water) of the ITT – basically the Tiputini area because Tambococha is in the extraction process and Ishpingo would start production in a year – to other fields for separation. The cost of production in the sector, for these processes, is $ 3.28. If transportation and resource separation are reduced or eliminated, the price could reach $ 1.88. One dollar and forty cents less.
Álex Galárraga, general manager of Petroamazonas, is aware of the costs that grow due to additional processes. That is why, he told EXPRESO, he plans two separator purchases that will be located within the ITT to avoid shipments. Each separator will have the capacity to process 100,000 barrels.
The offer is for the first one to arrive this month – until this weekend – and the next one in October.
Galárraga defends the production of Petroamazonas in the Yasuní and in the rest of the places where it operates. For him, the amount of water is irrelevant if you take into account the benefits behind it. The public company extracts, every day, about 412,000 barrels of oil. This resource is given to the state company, Petroecuador, for sale in spot sales (through an open process) or in pre-sales to Petrochina, Unipec and Petrotailandia.
Of water, however, there are about 1.7 million barrels daily.
Despite the data, Petroamazonas remains optimistic to continue expanding its work. Currently, ITT -Tambococha and Tiputini are the most productive areas of the Ecuadorian company.
One of the reasons for optimism, besides the purchase of separators, is the acquisition of power plants that will replace expensive sources.
The workers of the public company Petroamazonas have claims for an alleged breach of the collective contract signed by the general management.
For the exploitation of Ishpingo, also part of the Yasuní, it is necessary to deliver permits from the Ministry of the Environment. That step is about to end.
The public company Petroamazonas has an investment of more than 400 million dollars per year for the development of the ITT oil fields. (I)