Petroecuador Lifts Force Majeure

Ecuador's state oil company Petroecuador lifted a force majeure on crude exports on Thursday afternoon, after workers ended strike action Tuesday, a Petroecuador source told BNamericas.

At least two shipments with a total of 700,000 barrels of crude were delayed during the strike, and Petroecuador is working on a new dispatch timetable. In a statement, Petroecuador president Pedro Espin said the company's production reached 190,858 barrels on Wednesday, after the strike took output to around 180,000 barrels a day (b/d) earlier in the week. Production could return to normal levels of about 210,000b/d by Saturday, the source said.

Refineries are operating at about 85% of their capacity, producing about 127,000b/d of fuel compared to normal production of 150,000b/d, the statement said. Meanwhile, the SOTE pipeline is transporting crude at about 357,000b/d, including crude from private companies, which is a higher level than before the strike, the statement said. The pipeline's capacity is 390,000b/d. Union leaders want workers to remain on stand-by until the government drops legal proceedings against those leaders responsible for the strike, newspaper El Comercio reported.

However, energy minister Carlos Arboleda has requested that the state prosecutor investigate 52 union leaders and workers for their involvement in the strike, and he says the ministry is receiving job applications from candidates to replace the strike leaders, the paper reported.

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