QUITO – State oil company Petroecuador said Thursday it has increased its investment budget for 2009 by $618.4 million to $1.69 billion, with the additional money to be spent beginning the first week of August.
The company’s board of directors approved the increase, which will be distributed among its various units once the Finance Ministry transfers the funds, the company said in a statement.
The new budget assigns an additional $250 million to exploration and production unit Petroproduccion, with the money to be earmarked for renovating branch lines and other projects in the Amazon region and oil exploration along the nation’s coastline.
Petroamazonas, which operates the former Occidental Petroleum fields, will receive an extra $194 million “to develop oil production projects, such as the drilling of wells and the exploitation of the Panacocha field” in the Amazon region, the statement added.
Petroindustrial, Petroecuador’s refining subsidiary, will receive $72 million for projects at the Pacific Refinery, a joint venture of Ecuador and close ally Venezuela.
That division also will use the additional funds to renovate the Esmeraldas refinery and modernize crude treatment facilities.
Transport and distribution subsidiary Petrocomercial will be assigned $32.2 million for liquefied petroleum gas storage projects in the southern region, as well as for the construction of a clean products terminal in the central Andean city of Riobamba.
Oil is Ecuador’s main export product and revenue from oil exports finances roughly 35 percent of Ecuador’s public spending. EFE