Correa Resubmits Hydrocarbons Reform Bill

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has resubmitted a bill to congress that would reform the current hydrocarbons law, strengthen the regulation of fuel supplies and crack down on smuggling, the congress website reported.

Congress last month rejected Ley de Soberania Energetica y Hidrocarburifera bill, arguing it was unconstitutional as it "did not guarantee due process and appeals" for those charged with smuggling. Correa has again tagged the initiative urgent.

The new legislation aims to toughen fines for failure to fulfill regulatory or contractual agreements related to the quantity or quality of supplies or alteration of measuring instruments. Penalties could include suspension and the withdrawal of authorization to market derivatives.

The difference between subsidized gasoline and gas prices in Ecuador and high prices in Colombia and Peru has led to widespread contraband, according to the government. Smuggling costs Ecuador's government roughly US$700mn a year.

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