Ministry Considers Pastaza Oil Pipeline Tender in 2004

Ecuador's energy and mines ministry plans to call for bids in 2004 on a new oil pipeline that could transport oil from the eastern province of Pastaza to the port of Manta, a ministry source told BNamericas.

The final location of the pipeline is still subject to studies that the ministry expects to complete next year, the source said. "The OCP pipeline runs parallel to the Sote pipeline in the north of the country, but we are talking about the heavy crude production we expect from the Ishpingo-Tapococha-Tiputini field [known as the Tiputini project] in Pastaza," the source said. "We are thinking about the long-term future," the source said.

The ministry plans to tender the Tiputini project in August, energy minister Carlos Arboleda said, newspaper La Hora reported. However these plans may be delayed to 2004 because the fields require more 3D seismic work to determine the exact quantity of reserves, the source said. The ministry is also planning a new heavy crude refinery to process Tiputini crude, but the location and the investment in the refinery has not been decided yet, the source said. "The idea is not just to be exporters of crude but to add value to our exports, such as gasoline, which is an important business," the source added.

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