Ecuador plans bids for oil blocks and refinery in 2022 -minister

A view shows the state-run Esmeraldas refinery complex in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, August 15, 2017. REUTERS / Daniel Tapia

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QUITO, Nov. 19 (Reuters) – Ecuador hopes to hold at least four auctions in 2022 to award blocks of oil and the exploitation of Esmeraldas, its largest refinery, to private companies as it seeks to attract billion dollars in investment, Energy Minister Juan Carlos Bermeo said on Friday.

The blocks to be seized are currently controlled by the state-owned oil company Petroecuador, but the government of President Guillermo Lasso hopes to generate $ 19 billion in investment and increase oil production to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) by the next. end of his term in 2025.

The government plans to hold an auction for the Amistad offshore field, located in the Gulf of Guayaquil, where the successful bidder will assume the investment risk for gas development and production, the minister said.

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Likewise, he hopes to allocate the Sacha field – one of the largest in Ecuador and with a current daily production of 64,000 bpd – to interested companies.

“The Sacha field has been producing for over 40 years, with infrastructure that requires investments that the government currently cannot provide,” said Bermeo, estimating that the development of the field would require investment of $ 2.8 billion.

The new oil contracts will allow companies to share their profits with the government, in order to attract the interest of the private sector.

Previous contracts simply compensate companies for providing operating services.

The government hopes to attract $ 2.7 billion in investment for the Esmeraldas refinery, which has a processing capacity of 110,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).

“We have everything ready… we have the model contract ready and we can hopefully start this process in December of this year,” the minister said.

Another oil tender includes blocks in the Amazon that have high potential but face strong opposition from local indigenous communities.

Ecuador currently produces around 485,000 bpd, mainly from Petroecuador.

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Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Oliver Griffin Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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