Ecuador boosts exploration efforts

Petroecuador, the state oil company of Ecuador, is planning a major exploration effort over the next 2 years in preparation for the completion of the $1.1 billion OCP crude oil pipeline. Many exploration and development plans have been on hold because of lack of capacity on the existing 380,000 b/d SOTE crude line.


By an OGJ Online Correspondent

QUITO, Apr. 12 -- Petroecuador, the state oil company of Ecuador, is planning a major exploration effort over the next 2 years in preparation for the completion of the $1.1 billion Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados (OCP) crude oil pipeline.

Many exploration and development plans have been on hold because of lack of capacity on the existing 380,000 b/d Transecuadorian Pipeline System (SOTE) crude line.

Petroecuador plans to carry out 2D and 3D surveys over areas close to producing fields Sacha, Shushufindi, and Libertador.

It plans to drill 21 wells in 2001, including some directional and horizontal wells.

Once the new line is complete, Petroecuador will be able to use the capacity on the SOTE line currently taken up by other producers, because that crude will be sent through the OCP line.

The private companies that are producing oil in the Oriente basin are also boosting exploration activities. One estimate holds that $2.5 billion will be spent over the next 2 years on seismic and drilling activity.

Service contractors are poised to take care of increased demand. The country's rig count has reached a record 15 drilling and 23 workover rigs.

OCP Ecuador SA, a six-member consortium, plans to begin building the 450,000 b/d pipeline in early June. Work will take place over 22 months.

The group is made up of five oil companies that produce crude oil in the Oriente basin and engineering company Techint SA of Argentina. The producers are Occidental Ecuador Inc., Alberta Energy Co., Kerr-McGee Corp., Repsol-YPF SA, and Agip SPA (OGJ Online, Feb. 19, 2001).

The OCP route will follow the existing SOTE route, except for a major deviation through the foothills of the western range of the Andes.

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