Ecuador Gov't Removes Petroecuador Chief Carlos Pareja

QUITO Nov 29, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

President Rafael Correa has removed Carlos Pareja as president of state-owned oil company Petroecuador, replacing him with Fernando Zurita, Energy and Mines Minister Galo Chiriboga said Thursday.

"Petroecuador is the most important company for our country and we need to improve its performance," Chiriboga told Dow Jones Newswires in a telephone interview, without giving more details.

Pareja was named president of Petroecuador this year after Correa took office in January. He had previously been Petroecuador head, in 2005.

"What we are looking for with the change is to give greater efficiency to Petroecuador. There are many actions that haven't been taken that would have benefited the company. The decision was also influenced by protests in Orellana that have cost around 30,000 barrels of crude oil," Chiriboga added.

Correa also declared an emergency in Petroecuador, allowing it to be more easily restructured, according Chiriboga.

As part of the emergency, several members of the new constituent assembly will be posted to high-level positions in Petroecuador to support Zurita, a military officer.

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