US oil company Occidental saw its January-September Latin American oil production fall 7.2% to 77,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 83,000b/d in the same period in 2004, Oxy said in its Q3 earnings statement. Oxy's Q3 oil production in the region fell 3.4% to 84,000b/d from 87,000b/d in 2Q04. Oxy's January-September oil production in Colombia fell to 35,000b/d from 37,000b/d in the same nine-month period in 2004, while in Ecuador production dropped to 42,000b/d from 46,000b/d, the statement said. In Ecuador the company has an exploration and production contract for block 15 with Canadian partner EnCana. However, EnCana announced in September that it has reached an agreement to sell its Ecuadorian assets to a Chinese consortium for US$1.42bn in cash. Responding to questions during a conference call to discuss the quarter's results, Oxy president and CEO Ray Irani denied suggestions that Oxy could also be in discussions with Chinese companies to sell its properties in Ecuador. Oxy has not had an easy time in Ecuador lately due to an ongoing sales tax dispute and the Ecuadorian government has threatened to terminate its block 15 contract, claiming the company sold a 40% stake in the block to EnCana without government authorization. Meanwhile Oxy's western hemisphere president John Morgan said that its Peruvian well "is still drilling and will be for sometime yet." Oxy drilled a wildcat well on block 64 in Peru last year that came up dry. Oxy has a 50% working interest and is the operator of block 64. US oil company Amerada Hess and Canada's Talisman Energy each own 25% interests in the block. Company-wide Occidental posted net earnings of US$1.75bn in the third quarter compared with US$758mn in the same year ago period.
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