Ecuador lifts “force majeure” to restart oil exports

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The public company EP Petroecuador lifted the declaration of “force majeure” in the oil sector on Monday after a state oil pipeline and a polyduct resumed operations after several days of stoppage due to damage to infrastructure in the Amazonian province of Napo.

The company’s general manager, María Soledispa, said in a statement that the decision was taken on 5 March to normalize operations throughout the state oil company’s value chain.

With lifting the “force majeure” measure, a legal figure that avoids sanctions against the company for non-compliance with international commitments to export crude, Ecuador will be able to resume hydrocarbon sales, which have been suspended since 23 February.

The Ecuadorian oil sector was affected by the collapse of a bridge over the Marker River in Napo, which occurred on 22 February due to the instability of the soil due to the regressive natural erosion in this area of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Ecuador lifts
Ecuador lifts “force majeure” to restart oil exports. (Photo internet reproduction)

This event affected the infrastructure of the state-owned Sistema de Oleoducto Transecuatoriano (SOTE), the Shushufindi-Quito Polyduct, and the privately owned Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados (OCP), which led to the preventive suspension of operations.

In addition, the progressive shutdown of wells located in oil fields in the Amazon was carried out.

Soledispa added that in the next few days, they expect to reach the production levels they had before the suspension of oil pumping and resume crude exports to the international market.

Ecuador has 2,308 oil wells in production, in state and private fields, of which EP Petroecuador operates 1,726.

According to the company, 1,643 wells have already been started without problems, while 25, which produced 4,200 barrels of oil per day, could not be withdrawn and would need reconditioned.

EP Petroecuador operates in 25 oil blocks, including 22 in the Amazon and three on the coast, and is responsible for about 80 percent of national oil production.

According to the company, oil is Ecuador’s main export product, with the production of around 484,000 barrels of crude per day.

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