China's CNPC has won its first oil drilling contract in the Ishpingo area, according to the energy minister

China's CNPC has won its first oil drilling contract in the Ishpingo area, according to the energy m ...

  • Ishpingo's drilling campaign to include 40 wells in 18 months
  • Negotiations over contract migrations to begin in coming weeks
  • Government in talks with China to revamp oil-for-debt contracts

The first request for drilling at the Ishpingo oilfield near Ecuador's Yasuni National Park has been awarded to China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), according to the day's minister.

Ecuador intends to proceed with auctions and competitive processes to secure much-needed foreign and national capital for oil and gas exploration, production, transportation, and refining projects after the adoption of a new hydrocarbon law and legislation.

The South American country, which this week submitted legal reforms to the Congress, allowing tax and job incentives for investment, has received interest from companies in the transfer of existing oil service agreements to profit sharing agreements. In a statement, the minister said the country plans to begin negotiations on those in the coming weeks.

"We have a lot of hope on the Ishpingo field," Bermeo said of the CNPC contract.

The first drilling operation to begin after an environmental license for the sensitive area was granted will involve 40 wells over the next 18 months. It will focus on the field's permitted zone, without touching an area protected by a court verdict that has blocked drilling.

Ishpingo is the latest component of the promising ITT-43 oilfield in Ecuador's Amazonia region to begin drilling after Tambococha and Tiputini. It is expected to produce heavy oil, which will be added to the nation's flagship Napo crude, according to Bermeo.

UPGRADE IN DANGER

Ecuador intends to continue exporting much of its crude through open-market tenders. More volumes may be offered if government discussions with China over unlinking crude deliveries from pending debt payments succeed, according to the minister.

Ecuador's objective is to produce 580,000 barrels of crude and natural gas this year, up from 477,300 boepd in 2021, when a force majeure statement impacted production.

According to Bermeo, if the government, which intends to combat the extension prohibition in Ishpingo, can grant access to the protected area. Up to seven onshore production platforms might be installed and 150,000 billion will be added to future production.

According to Bermeo, a $200 million effort to relocate the country's most significant oil pipelines, which have suffered frequent interruptions.

The country is looking for a company to share the operation of its 110,000-barrel-per-day Esmeraldas refinery, a process that will be officially launched in April.

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