QUITO – Private oil companies operating in Ecuador plan to invest more than $417 million in 2010, nearly double last year’s outlay, the Non-Renewable Natural Resources Ministry said Wednesday.
Reports from the National Hydrocarbons Directorate, which oversees oil and gas operations in Ecuador, say that figure corresponds to the 2010 exploration and production budget of six private companies – including Spain’s Repsol YPF – that operate in the Amazon region.
“This sample of six companies demonstrates the result of the government’s actions, which led the private oil companies to increase their investments in the country,” the ministry said.
The Ecuadorian government has been insisting that private oil firms invest more even as they are being forced to relinquish their profit-sharing deals and sign service-provider contracts.
The ministry noted that private oil firms operating in Ecuador invested $212.14 million in 2009, up from $161.84 million the previous year.
Oil is Ecuador’s main export product and revenue from crude exports finances roughly 25 percent of Ecuador’s public spending. EFE