Ecuador Expects To Raise Block 6 Gas Output by 61% Next Year

QUITO, Ecuador--Ecuador expects to increase its natural-gas output in block 6, in the Amistad field, by 61%, to 100 million cubic feet per day by the end of next year, state-run company Petroecuador said.

In a press release, the company said four new development wells will be drilled in the field, thanks to a rented rig that recently arrived in Ecuador and expected to start operations in December.

The rig was rented by Petrex, a unit of Italy's Eni SpA. (E, ENI.MI), that will run the operations over 18 months.

The cost of renting the rig is about $48 million and includes perforation of two additional exploratory wells and a workover of another two.

Petroecuador also aims to raise gas production from the field to 85 million of cubic feet per day from the current 62 million by the end of this year.

Last March, Petroecuador said it had upgraded the size of the reserves in the Amistad field to about 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, following a review and reinterpretation of seismic testing in the Amistad Norte, Santa Clara, BBJ, BBJ Sur and Amistad Suroeste areas.

The Amistad gas field was formerly operated by a local unit of Noble Energy Inc. (NBL), but Petroecuador took it over after the U.S. company refused in 2010 to change its production-sharing contract to a new service agreement.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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