QUITO – Ecuador wants to increase its oil production to an average of 502,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year, up from the 486,000 bpd level registered in 2010, the government said.
The Andean country’s production was 503,000 bpd in the early part of this year, but the government is maintaining a lower target of 502,000 bpd, Nonrenewable Natural Resources Minister Wilson Pastor said in a statement.
The government’s goal is to hit production of 600,000 bpd in the next three years, eclipsing the record of 530,000 bpd set in 2003.
Ecuador is the fifth-largest oil producer in the Americas and two-thirds of its output comes from public companies, while about a dozen private companies operating in the Amazon region account for the rest of its production.
State-owned Petroecuador increased its output by 8,000 bpd, while Petroamazonas, another state-owned firm, is meeting its production target and the private companies raised their output by 4 percent, Pastor said.
President Rafael Correa said earlier this week that Ecuador would earn an additional $1.2 billion this year from petroleum exports, with $400 million coming from higher prices and the remainder from the renegotiation of oil contracts.
Ecuador renegotiated its contracts with private oil companies at the end of last year, with the foreign operators getting a fixed royalty per barrel and the government becoming the legal owner of the crude.
A rise in the price of oil now benefits the government’s bottom line, generating additional revenues thanks to the surge in petroleum prices since the start of the year.
Oil exports are the main source of revenue for Ecuador, financing about 25 percent of the general budget. EFE