Peter Howard Wertheim
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 10 -- Brazil's state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has signed an agreement with Ecuador's Petroecuador establishing a 5-year strategic energy alliance covering every aspect of the petroleum industry, including new exploration and production initiatives.
Ecuador's ministry of energy said the two companies will form a joint committee to determine which projects to recommend to the two countries' presidents.
According to Petrobras sources, primary among its interests is the exploration and development of the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambochocha (ITT) field complex in northern Ecuador and several blocks in southeastern Ecuador. The ITT complex is thought to contain about 900 million bbl of proven reserves, which would require $2 billion to produce.
After projects are proposed for development under the strategic alliance, Ecuador President Alfredo Palacio will decide which will be carried out under the alliance and which will be put up for international bids. Petroecuador has been told to prepare for licensing the southeastern blocks sometime next year.