Petroecuador to Launch Offshore Gas E&P Bidding in 2008

Ecuador's state oil company Petroecuador early next year will launch bidding for natural gas E&P in the gulf of Guayaquil, the energy and mines ministry and presidential websites reported.

The planned gas E&P is part of the government's plan to increase hydrocarbons production, the ministry said in a statement. Additional details were not released.

The gas also would be used to advance plans to use gas to fuel taxis, the statement said.

The only large-scale natural gas project in Ecuador is the Amistad field in the gulf of Guayaquil, according to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA).

Houston-based Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL) operates the field, which supplies Noble's Machala thermoelectric plant in the country.

Although Ecuador's oil industry produces a significant amount of natural gas as part of its operations, most of the gas is flared off due to a lack of infrastructure to capture it, according to EIA.

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