Ecuador to Sign Sundown-Clipper Contract by End-Jan.

Ecuador's energy ministry plans to sign by end-January an exploration and production contract with Houston-based consortium Sundown-Clipper for onshore block 4 and offshore block 5 in Guayaquil, a ministry spokesperson told BNamericas.

Each block covers about 200,000 hectares, the spokesperson said.

The contract will be for 20 years. Ecuador's attorney general and the armed forces must approve the contract first, which could happen in the next 15 days, the spokesperson said.

If commercial quantities of natural gas were discovered on the blocks, a new contract would be drawn up, but if only oil was discovered the participation contract would remain the same.

Gas could be used to supply a new thermoelectric power plant thereby lowering energy costs, President Lucio Gutiérrez said in a statement Wednesday.

The blocks are two of the four that made up Petroecuador's ninth bidding round. Sundown-Clipper was the only bidder on the blocks in March 2004.


The ministry plans to hold its tenth bidding round in mid-2005, the spokesperson said. Offshore blocks 39 and 40, which did not attract a single bid in the ninth round, will be tendered again in the tenth round, the spokesperson said, without saying what other blocks could be included in the tender.

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