The first contract for the drilling of wells in the key oil field of Ishpingo, in the vicinity of the Ecuadorian national park of Yasuní, was awarded to China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), said the Minister of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources, Juan Carlos Bermeo.
The country, which is promoting legal reforms to attract much-needed private investment, has also received interest from companies to migrate from the current service provision contracts to participation agreements, for which it plans to start negotiations in the coming weeks, added the official.
Ecuador has been looking for a company to share the operation of its 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) Esmeraldas refinery and also has ambitious plans to award several oil and gas blocks through tenders.
Following the approval of a new hydrocarbons law and related legislation, Ecuador plans to move forward with planned bidding processes to secure foreign and domestic capital for projects in the oil industry.
“We have a lot of hope in the Ishpingo field”, said the minister and added that the first campaign aimed at drilling 40 wells will be concentrated in the permitted area of the controversial field, without extending to the protected area of the park by a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court, which has prevented any company from expanding drilling.
Ishpingo, part of the promising ITT oil field in Ecuador’s Amazon region, is the last part of the environmentally sensitive area to start drilling for oil, after Tambococha and Tiputini. It is expected to produce heavy oil, which will add to Ecuador’s Napo crude production.
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