Official Outlines Planned Changes to Ecuador's Energy Sector

Ecuador's new energy and mines minister Alberto Acosta has outlined the reforms he intends to advance for the country's energy sector, the ministry said in a statement.

Acosta's proposals prioritize development of normal and small-scale hydroelectric plants.

The minister believes it is illogical that thermo and hydro generation account for roughly equal amounts of the country's capacity with 43% and 45.5%, respectively. The result is unnecessary expenditures on diesel for generation feedstock and electricity interconnections.

The ministry already is in meetings with the industry ministry to arrange for the equipment needed by small plants to be manufactured domestically.

OIL SECTOR

Acosta aims to diminish dependence on diesel for thermo generation and cut reliance on oil in general through the development of renewable fuels.

He has held conversations with the country's agriculture ministry regarding production of biofuels, the statement said, specifically highlighting sugarcane as a possible source.

Further, Acosta aims to develop a "regionalized production strategy" for state oil company Petroecuador as well as a storage and refining plan.

Finally, the ministry will launch Project Black Gold, which is designed to combat oil contraband that costs the country an annual US$400 million. He also will start a program of online commerce to ensure transparency in oil companies' operations in order to fight corruption.

The ministry's current deputy oil minister Jorge Alban will become deputy energy minister and Alexei Mosquera new deputy electricity minister, Acosta also announced.

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