Ecuador Oil Workers Strike Ends, Output Gradually Recovers

Ecuadorian state oil company Petroecuador's E&P arm Petroproduccion is gradually resuming oil production after a 48-hour oil workers strike ended on Wednesday, the company said in a statement.

Armed forces cleared access roads to the main oil producing fields, allowing production to resume, the statement said.

Petroproduccion halted production at midnight on Monday after workers took over oil installations on the Auca field in the country's northwestern Orellana province. The workers demanded the company pay off its US$51mn debt with oil service contractors, amongst other things.

The first areas where production was partially restored were the Lago Agrio, Sacha, Libertador and Shushufindi fields, which by Wednesday night were producing at a rate of 96,360 barrels a day (b/d), up from 40,600b/d on Wednesday morning.

Petroproduccion VP Jaime Crow said that total production levels would reach 180,000-190,000b/d by March 13 at the latest.

Petroproduccion technicians will inspect the fields where activity was suspended and detail the state of equipment, installations, pipeline and stations to identify any possible damage that would preclude the company from resuming certain operations.

Production will reach the normal 200,000b/d rate once damaged equipment is replaced, Crow said.

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