Petroecuador to Decide on Oxy Proposal Review by Monday

Ecuador's state oil company Petroecuador will announce by May 15 whether it has the legal faculty to review a contract renegotiation proposal submitted by US oil company Occidental (NYSE: OXY), Petroecuador president Fernando Gonzalez said in a statement.

The state oil company has established a commission should the review of the proposal fall within its power.

In March, Petroecuador rejected Occidental's offer to pay US$1bn to end a legal dispute between the two.

At the heart of the dispute are allegations that Oxy transferred a 40% stake in block 15 to Canadian oil firm EnCana (NYSE: ENC) in 2000 without government permission in addition to overproducing on some wells and not complying with its investment plan in the block.

The legal dispute has spurred numerous protests in Ecuador, with calls for the government not to negotiate with the US company and for it to be kicked out of the country.

Occidental's Ecuadorian oil production was 42,000 barrels a day (b/d) in 2005, down from 46,000b/d in 2004.

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