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Ecuador Restructures State Companies to Boost Crude Output

PetroEcuador, the country’s state-owned oil company, is transferring exploration and production assets worth about $2 billion to a unit to boost the OPEC-member nation’s output, the chief executive officer said.

PetroEcuador will hand over assets including eight oil fields in the country’s Amazon region to unit PetroAmazonas and expects daily output to climb to about 546,000 barrels within two years because of greater efficiencies, CEO Marco Calvopina told reporters today in Quito, without elaborating.

President Rafael Correa, who led Ecuador’s push to nationalize its oil reserves in 2008, is trying to increase crude production, which has dropped 2.1 percent since he took office five years ago. State-owned oil companies account for about 73 percent of all oil produced in the country, up from half in January 2007, according to central bank data.

“This is a milestone in the modernization of the state oil sector,” Calvopina said. “It will help the oil industry, which is the foundation of the national economy, to improve significantly for the benefit of Ecuadoreans.”

PetroEcuador will hand over operations that currently produce about 216,000 barrels of crude and 60 million cubic feet of natural gas a day, Calvopina said. The fields to be transferred have reserves of 1.52 billion barrels of oil and 1.7 trillion cubic feet of gas, he said.

Ecuador is the smallest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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