Hydrocarbons Group: New Minister Open to Dialogue

Ecuador's new mines and oil minister Galo Chiriboga is open to sitting down and talking to international oil companies one by one, Rene Ortiz-Duran, executive president of Ecuador's hydrocarbons industry association (AIHE), told BNamericas.

Chiriboga comes from the previous administration of President Alfredo Palacio and was president of state oil company Petroecuador. As such, he knows the crisis the company is going through, Ortiz-Duran said.

Petroecuador produced 220,000b/d in January 2003, while current output reaches 170,000b/d, according to the AIHE head.

"Our meeting with the minister was similar to the one we had with the president of Petroecuador [Carlos Pareja Yannuzzelli], who said the sector needs US$5.5bn investment in the next four to five years and that there is room for all," Ortiz-Duran said.

Petroecuador's president said international tenders could be launched next month to explore two coastal blocks and three blocks in the Pie de Monte Oriental, Ortiz-Duran said.

The head of the state oil company also said if a company presents a letter expressing interest in the ITT area, he will open an international tender.

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