Ecuador is planning to offer, most likely in 2024, blocks for offshore exploration and production of natural gas at the Gulf of Guayaquil, following auctions for onshore areas to be completed next year, Energy Minister Xavier Vera said on Monday.
Vera expects to greenlight a proposal in the coming months once blocks are defined that will offer production sharing contracts to interested energy companies.
Millions of barrels of Ecuadorian crude could be offered soon on the spot market following an oil-for-debt renegotiation between Ecuador and China's Petrochina, Vera told Reuters in an interview.
The crude, key for U.S. Gulf and European oil refiners seeking to replace Russian supplies, will be offered via open tenders that will invite refiners and trading companies to bid.
Ecuador's Energy ministry is evaluating the availability of drilling rigs and other specialized equipment to secure units for the country's planned exploration projects and output expansion.
Ecuador expects to increase its crude production to 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) by 2025. A large portion of the increase is planned to come from onshore areas awarded as part of its Intracampos round, whose second phase is currently on offer.
(Reuters - Reporting by Marianna Parraga)