A group led by Conoco Ecuador Ltd. plans a $500 million, five field project in Ecuador's Oriente region that will be the country's first heavy oil development. Reserves tentatively estimated at 200 million bbl could support production of 45,000 b/d for 20 years. No start-up date is scheduled. The project includes a large program of horizontal wells rare in Latin America-as well as vertical wells and two new pipelines, extending industry's infrastructure in the Oriente farther southeast. Ecuador, the second smallest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is hard pressed...

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