Ecuador's Sacha field to stay in state hands

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ecuador's President Lenín Moreno said that state E&P company Petroamazonas will continue to operate the Sacha field at block 60 (see map below).

Moreno made the announcement during a sector review of the Esmeraldas refinery along with hydrocarbons minister Carlos Pérez.

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Petroamazonas took over Sacha last year from Operaciones Río Napo CEM, a JV between Petroamazonas and Venezuela's PDVSA that was ordered into liquidation following PDVSA's withdrawal from the partnership.

Moreno said the decision was taken after a review of options presented by the hydrocarbons ministry, and to take advantage of Petroamazonas' installed capacity and institutional efficiency, the ministry said in a statement.

Pérez, who previously said that a couple of companies were interested in the field, added that international bank resources will complement Petroamazonas' budget to continue the field's development.

"This decision will permit a greater profitability for the state, with the use of Petroamazonas' technical and human capacity," according to the minister.

Ecuador acreage map, block 60 in red (CREDIT: Ecuador hydrocarbons department)

Petroamazonas' latest daily production bulletin reveals that on August 15 Sacha output was 65,802b, the company's third largest producer that day after Shushufindi (76,027b) and Auca (70,001b). The report adds that Petroamazonas' total output that day was 417,531b.

The company's output on August 14 was 418,936b or 78% of the country's total production, according to a report from hydrocarbons regulator ARCH.

[GRAFICO:FIGURA:ID_3766]

PROJECT SHORTFALLS

Pérez also highlighted that infrastructure problems were detected at the Esmeraldas refinery which - according to the minister - reveal that the overhaul was not integral.

This has generated problems in its operational capacity due to the number of unscheduled stops which cost approximately US$1.25mn/day, he added. The government is preparing an investment plan to improve the infrastructure.

In addition, Pérez pointed to technical problems at projects such as the Pascuales Cuenca multipurpose pipeline, the Monteverde El Chorrillo gas complex and the Bajo Alto liquefaction plant.

Read Ecuador's Moreno strips VP of powers over Odebrecht accusations

Finally, the minister reiterated a pledge to carry out the Pacífico refinery project as long as it is attractive for investors, and to launch new E&P rounds Suroriente and Intracampos.