Block 15 Costs Reach US$5.13/b in Q1

First quarter operating costs at Ecuador's block 15 reached US$5.13/b, according to Wilson Pastor, CEO of the UB-15 temporary administration unit operating the block, which belongs to state oil company Petroecuador.

Ecuador expropriated the block from US oil company Occidental (NYSE: OXY) in May 2006.

Occidental's operating cost was US$7.20/b, while the budgeted operating cost has been set at US$6.69/b, Pastor said in a Petroecuador statement.

The executive attributed the drop to the departure of 40 US Occidental employees, whose average salary was US$15,000 a month and the elimination of Occidental's US$60mn/y financial costs.

Improved control of subcontractor contracts has also helped reduce costs, he said.

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