QUITO Nov 28 Ecuadorean President Rafael
Correa said on Wednesday his government planned to directly
assign oil projects to state companies from allied countries to
avoid a long bidding process.
"We are going to ignore the bidding process, because time
is crucial for us and a bid could take up to five or six
months," Correa told reporters after returning from trips to
China and Indonesia.
"The judicial framework already allows us to directly
assign projects using strategic alliances with state companies
from other countries," he added.
Chinese and Indonesian state-run oil firms should "very
quickly " make offers to operate oil fields run by Ecuador's
state oil company, Petroecuador, Correa said.
Correa, a left-wing economist, is pushing to rework oil
contracts with foreign oil firms to increase the state
participation in deals that allow companies to keep part of the
oil they extract.
He surprised investors in October by hiking a windfall oil
tax that affects companies such as Spain's Repsol (REP.MC) and
Brazil's Petrobras (PETR4.SA).
Correa said an upcoming government-controlled assembly
rewriting the constitution would ratify the decision to
directly assign oil projects in the nation, which is a member
of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Ecuador, South America's No 5 oil producer, has seen its
output dwindle in recent years due to scarce investment in
state-run oil fields. The country's produces around 500,000
barrels of oil per day, half of which is extracted by private
(Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by Walter Bagley)