Ecuador Postpones Esmeraldas Refinery Maintenance Until March


QUITO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Ecuador postponed planned maintenance on its 110,000 barrel-per-day Esmeraldas refinery due to a delay in the delivery of pipes that will be installed in several units, the oil ministry said on Monday.

The outage had originally been scheduled to start in mid-August and last 54 days.

"The planned stoppage of the Esmeraldas refinery will be carried out in March 2019," the ministry said in a statement.

State oil company Petroecuador "will provide the appropriate technical support so that the units can continue operating under the current conditions until the new date," it added.

The maintenance will involve repairs to equipment on units including the fluid catalytic cracker as well as crude and vacuum units.

The Esmeraldas refinery has suffered operational problems despite undergoing a $2.2 billion expansion project during the government of former President Rafael Correa.

A technical team from Petroecuador will travel to China to supervise construction of the pipes to avoid further delays, the ministry said.

President Lenin Moreno has ordered an audit of the refinery expansion and other oil sector projects to investigate possible acts of corruption. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)


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