Ecuador and Venezuela promote energy integration

August 30th, 2008 - 3:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Puerto Ordaz (Venezuela) Aug 30 (IANS) Ecuador and Venezuela have entered into an “energy integration” plan to ensure energy security in the region, Ecuador’s petroleum minister Galo Chiriboga said, EFE news agency reported Saturday.The pact, which led to the founding of the joint venture company Petronado, “will create more jobs” within Ecuador’s state-run Petroecuador and “will strengthen and improve its technical and operational capability,” the minister said here Friday.

“Our two nations are optimistic about the future of this relationship,” he said following a meeting between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Ecuadorian counterpart Rafael Correa.

Both Chavez and Correa were present during the launch of an oilfield drilling rig jointly operated by Petroecuador and Venezuela’s state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) in the crude-rich Orinoco Belt.

Chiriboga said cooperation between the two nations is an instrument that will allow Ecuador to “seek self-sufficiency” in the oil sector.

Petroecuador will hold a stake of 8.35 percent in Petronado, the minister said.

The joint venture will also include Chile, but the size of it stake was not specified.

Chiriboga said Petronado would operate in Ayacucho Five Block, which has three oil wells with some four billion barrels of recoverable oil.

While Venezuela is the world’s fifth largest oil exporter and among the top suppliers of crude to the US, Ecuador’s petroleum output is a modest 600,000 barrels per day.

Ecuador’s shortage of refining capacity forces Quito to send oil abroad for processing into fuels.

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