Ecuador Internacional

China’s Andes Said to Join Repsol in Ecuador Oil Drilling Freeze

Bloomberg Business 30/04/2015

Source: Bloomber Business

Source: Bloomber Business

Andes Petroleum Ecuador Ltd. and Repsol SA, Ecuador’s two biggest foreign oil producers, are shelving plans to drill exploratory wells amid a payment dispute with the OPEC nation’s government, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Andes, owned by China National Petroleum Corp. and China Petrochemical Corp., and Madrid-based Repsol have notified Halliburton Co. that they plan to freeze their drilling contracts this year, said the two people, who asked not to be named because the matter hasn’t been made public. Houston-based Halliburton provides services to both companies, which pump oil for Ecuador’s government for a per-barrel fee.

A third person with knowledge of Repsol’s plans, who isn’t authorized to speak about the matter publicly, said the Spanish company has begun notifying all of its service providers in Ecuador, including Halliburton, that it wants to reach new agreements after global oil prices fell. Current output isn’t affected by the exploration delays, one of the people said.

Repsol spokesman Kristian Rix said the company was operating normally in Ecuador and declined to comment on individual contracts. Susie McMichael, a spokeswoman at Halliburton in Houston, and Andes Petroleum spokesman Edgar Vasquez declined to comment when asked about the contracts. The press office of Ecuador’s oil ministry didn’t provide a comment.

The drilling delay is another setback for Ecuador, where a 45 percent plunge in the price of its Oriente crude has led President Rafael Correa to cut spending and the budget of state producer Petroamazonas. The government has fallen behind on payments of fees to oil operators as the drop in prices for crude, which accounts for about a quarter of state revenue, saps liquidity, according to two of the people.

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