Ecuador readies new licensing round

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Ecuador's government aims to launch a new hydrocarbons licensing round next quarter, following the start of the Ronda Campos Menores 2017 round in recent days.

The Ronda Intracampos process will be for center-southeast fields with reserves of 50M-610Mb, hydrocarbons minister Carlos Pérez said in a presentation on Tuesday.

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The fields are not in production and require some exploration but are near existing facilities, according to Pérez, who added that the hydrocarbons department is analyzing what contractual model will be used.


Regarding the ITT complex, which covers the Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini fields within block 43 (see map below), the minister said investment to date reaches US$476mn of the planned US$1.963bn.

He confirmed plans to begin drilling Tambococha, which lies within the Yasuní national park, at year-end, and that horizontal drilling will be used in order not to impact the park.

Read Ecuador to expand block 43 activity

CREDIT: Ecuador government

Current ITT production of approximately 50,000b/d comes from five Tiputini platforms and production facilities are in place for 80,000b/d, said Pérez. A total of 25 platforms are planned for the three fields.

The official said that peak ITT production of 300,000b/d is expected in 2023 and that a new reserves certification (1.745Bb at end-2016) is planned for year-end.


When asked about the Sacha field at block 60, the minister said talks are underway with two companies interested in the area.

Operaciones Río Napo CEM, a JV between Ecuador's state E&P operator Petroamazonas and Venezuela's PDVSA, had operated the field until its liquidation following PDVSA's withdrawal from the partnership.

Although a pre-agreement is in place with PDVSA to terminate the JV, an environmental report first must be issued for the field, according to Pérez.


Another area highlighted by Pérez was Petroamazonas' push to reduce production and operating costs.

Next year's goal is to lower costs to US$15/b which will be achieved through more efficient power supply such as replacing diesel-fired generation with natural gas and crude, he added.

Petroamazonas also now has access to the national grid, having connected the Sacha field this week at the Shushufindi substation which is fed by the 1.5GW Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant, said Pérez. The Shushufindi field will follow and then ITT.


On the downstream front, the official said alternatives are under review to determine the best way forward for the US$15bn 300,000b/d Pacífico refinery project.

Pérez said the goal is to develop the project via private investment but that financing has not been ruled out.

Offers are on the table from companies from various countries for the project which may be adjusted, added Pérez, who did not disclose company names.

Read Refinería del Pacífico: Ecuador's white elephant?

Check out BNamericas Intelligence Series report Ecuador's Oil Sector Seeks Results