Petroecuador Board Okays US$221mn Budget for Block 15

The board of Ecuador's state oil company Petroecuador has approved the US$221mn budget for block 15, the company said in a statement.

The budget corresponds to the period from May to year-end. Ecuador expropriated the block from US oil company Occidental (NYSE: OXY) in May.

The budget includes US$149mn for operating costs and US$72mn for production, according to the statement.

Petroecuador subsidiary Petroproduccion will temporarily administrate the block and be responsible for the budget.

Petroecuador could not immediately provide figures on the amount of money from the US$221mn budget already spent this year when contacted by BNamericas.

Block 15 produces some 100,000 barrels of oil a day.

Ecuador expropriated Oxy's assets alleging the US company transferred a 40% stake in block 15 to Canadian oil firm EnCana (NYSE: ENC) in 2000 without government permission, overproduced some wells and did not comply with the block's investment plan.

Oxy responded by filing an arbitration claim with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

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