Ecuador's Petroamazonas to Develop Four Oil Fields in '09

QUITO (Dow Jones Newswires), Mar. 31, 2009

Ecuadorian state-owned oil company Petroamazonas S.A. plans to develop four oil blocks this year, General Manager Wilson Pastor said Monday.

In an interview, Pastor said Petroamazonas' target is to drill around 14 wells in Panacocha field, which is expected to produce up to 25,000 barrels per day.

Production is expected to begin there with an initial production of 5,000 barrels a day starting in the second quarter of next year.

The company also plans to drill 13 wells in Panayacu-Quinde oil area for a maximum output of 10,000 barrels per day. In Paka Sur, Petroamazonas plans to drill four wells to start production of around 3,000 barrels per day later this year.

Petroamazonas, which is majority-owned by state oil company Petroecuador, is looking for financing from multilateral lenders and foreign countries to develop block 31, but Pastor didn't give details.

"We are in talks to get financing. If we obtain financing this block will be developed this year. We plan to drill around 14 wells," Pastor said.

Last year, the Ecuadorian government and Brazil's state-run oil firm, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, agreed to finish the contract for block 31, which was transferred to the state.

Block 31 has 200,000 hectares, some of this within the Yasuni National Park, which Unesco has declared a world biosphere reserve.

Petrobras has not yet started production in block 31.

Petroamazonas' oil output rose 8% last year to 94,943 barrels per day.

For 2009, Petroamazonas plans to increase oil output to 100,567 barrels per day. The company's budget this year will total $604.7 million, of which $359 million will go to investment and the remaining $245.74 million to operating costs.

Petroamazonas is a Petroecuador unit that operates the former Occidental Petroleum Corp. fields.

The government seized Block 15, the Eden-Yuturi and the Limoncocha fields in May 2006, alleging that Occidental had broken the terms of its operating contract.

Petroecuador holds 80% of Petroamazonas, while Petroecuador subsidiary Petroproduccion holds 20%.  

Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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