SEOUL – Ecuador’s Coordinating Minister for Strategic Sectors, Rafael Poveda, underlined on Tuesday in Seoul the “positive response” of the public and private sectors in South Korea with regard to Ecuador’s Pacific Refinery macro-project.
“It is a priority for them too to support this project and participate in the financing, as they have conveyed that everything within their reach will be done,” the minister said in an interview with EFE at the conclusion of his work agenda in the South Korean capital.
Poveda held meetings with the South Korean Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan and representatives of the government, local financial entities, as well as the SK conglomerate that will participate in financing the refinery project.
He was optimistic and said if everything goes as expected the financing will be taken care of by the end of the year, allowing the construction of the Pacific Refinery to begin by the beginning of next year.
The construction, expected to be completed in 60 months, has an estimated cost of $13 billion.
The Ecuadorian government, which seeks financing from abroad for the entire amount, already has the support of a consortium of Chinese public and private sector banks and is now looking for South Korean partners, Proveda explained.
“We believe that South Korea can play a very important role. We want (South Korea) as a strategic ally of Ecuador, especially in this project,” he said, adding that the refinery will allow his country to export fuel instead of importing it as it does now.
Besides the refinery, his agenda includes seeking greater private investment in electricity generation in Ecuador, especially during a meeting with his South Korean counterpart.
Poveda is scheduled to travel to Beijing Wednesday for another round of negotiations with the Chinese authorities regarding the refinery project and other bilateral issues.