Ecuador eyes output boost

by on July 25, 2012 1:37 am BST

Ecuador is Opec’s smallest member and last year its average output reached 500,378 bpd, up from 486,014 bpd in 2010.

“We were more optimistic at the start of the year. This year we’ll reach a production level of 510,000 bpd … Next year we see production at 530,000 bpd” Peru’s energy minister, Wilson Pastor, said in a message posted on the social networking site, Twitter.

He said the Andean country should be able to produce 520,000 bpd by the end of 2012 and that the output increase would come mainly from the Sacha oilfield, which is operated by state-run company Petroecuador and its Venezuelan counterpart, PDVSA.

The biggest producers in Ecuador are state-run companies Petroecuador and Petroamazonas, which this year plan to merge their operations and create two separate upstream and downstream companies, Reuters reported.

After taking office in 2007, Ecuador’s leftist President Rafael Correa introduced reforms to increase state revenue from the oil industry, which led private companies to freeze investments.

Ecuador’s economy is heavily dependent on oil exports. Higher crude prices have allowed Correa to hike social spending in recent years, which in turn has boosted his popularity among the country’s poor majority ahead of a presidential election scheduled for February 2013.