Friday, December 17, 2010
Ecuador May Seek OPEC Investment After Seizing Petrobras, Noble Licenses
Ecuadorean laws allowing the government to assign oil licenses to foreign state-owned companies without a bidding process will likely help lure investments from members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said Jose Luis Ziritt, head of the country’s oil industry association.
“OPEC members have the advantage of being state companies and they are able to enter into direct negotiations,” Ziritt, a 57-year old engineer and former oil adviser to the nation’s President Rafael Correa, said yesterday in an interview at his offices in Quito. “There is no Middle Eastern investment here and OPEC members may see Ecuador as an attractive country.”
Ecuador, the smallest member of OPEC, will offer licenses for new oil fields in April after forcing companies including Repsol YPF SA and Eni SpA to switch to service contracts from output-sharing accords. The seizure of four concessions from companies that didn’t agree to switch may discourage investments from non-government producers, Ziritt said.
Ecuador, which aims to boost production by 1.3 percent to 181 million barrels next year, is hosting its first OPEC meeting since returning to the organization in 2007. Oil ministers from the 12-nation group will review its output. The Andean country joined OPEC in 1973 and voluntarily suspended its membership in 1992, according to Vienna-based organization’s website.
OPEC’s 12 members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nathan Gill in Quito at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at email@example.com