Petroecuador Suspends Transport on Sote Pipeline Due to Protest

Ecuador's state oil company Petroecuador suspended oil transport on the national Sote oil pipeline on Tuesday morning after 60 protestors occupied the no 4 pumping station in the village of Baeza in eastern Ecuador, Petroecuador said in a statement.

The protestors occupied the station in order to pressure the government to resolve a controversy regarding the operations of US oil company Occidental (NYSE: OXY).

Charges against Oxy allege the company illegally transferred a 40% stake in block 15 to Canadian oil firm EnCana (NYSE: ECA), is overproducing on some wells and has not complied with its investment plan in the block.

Petroecuador suspended transport "as a measure of prevention and safety," the statement said.

Company officials sought help from the police and for the time being oil transport on the pipeline will remain suspended.

Oxy plans to file its response to the charges Ecuador's authorities by the February 8 deadline, Oxy president John Morgan said in a company conference call to discuss year-end results.

Petroecuador aims to transport 132 million barrels of oil on the Sote pipeline this year, according to a previous BNamericas report.

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