QUITO – Ecuadorian state oil company Petroecuador announced the discovery of 18 million barrels of reserves at three Amazon wells, saying they will partly compensate for crude that has been consumed.
The firm announced the finds in a statement Tuesday in which it also noted that its total proven reserves amounted to nearly 4.7 billion barrels in 2010. It did not provide figures from last year.
Petroecuador, the country’s second-largest crude producer after fellow state oil firm Petroamazonas, accounted for nearly 152,000 barrels per day of the more than 500,000 bpd produced in Ecuador in 2011.
Private oil companies’ share of oil output in the Andean nation is roughly 30 percent.
Petroecuador raised its reserves by 18 million barrels thanks to the discovery of 5 million barrels at an exploratory well in the Auca Sur field and 13 million barrels at two exploratory wells in the Shushufindi field.
“The volume of total incorporated reserves will help make up in part for reserves consumed and generate greater revenue for the Ecuadorian government,” Petroecuador said in the statement.
Petroecuador said last month it plans to invest approximately $1.8 billion in new wells, pipelines and refining projects to boost production by 16 percent this year.
Petroecuador’s 2012 budget includes investment in seismic studies and the drilling of gas wells in the Gulf of Guayaquil and another 98 oil wells in the Amazon region.
The company plans to spend $528 million this year on oil and gas exploration and production and $337 million to upgrade its Esmeraldas refinery.
It also plans to invest nearly $352 million to build the Pacific refinery and another $127 million in the Rio Napo joint venture for the Sacha oil field, projects in which Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA has a minority stake.
In October, it was announced that Petroecuador will be handing over all oil and gas exploration and production operations to Petroamazonas.
After the reorganization is completed in approximately one year, Petroecuador will limit its operations to crude transport, refining and marketing. EFE