Russia to invest $1.5bn in Ecuador energy
The two countries have several ongoing energy projects, including
state-owned Gazprom’s alliance with Ecuador’s state-run oil
company Petroamazonas. The Latin American country hopes to buy
less and less oil and gas from abroad, and to develop its own
natural gas reserves and become more energy self-sufficient.
The smallest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has proven oil reserves of 8 billion barrels, about 1 percent of the world’s total. Ecuador exports roughly 500,000 barrels per day.
Ecuador will open up its hydrocarbon resources to Russia’s
state-owned companies Gazprom and Rosneft in cooperation with
Ecuador state run Rosegelogia. Both company’s CEOs were present
at the meeting between Correa and Putin at the Kremlin on
“Of course we are interested in the participation of Gazprom,
as it is the largest gas company in the world,” Correa said.
Currently, Russian companies are taking part in other energy
projects. Roseximbank, Russia's state-owned import-export
bank ,agreed to loan $195 million to finance a thermoelectric
plant which will be built by Russian firm Inter Rao, and is
expected to begin operations in 2016.
Russian and Ecuador signed another $1.2 billion agreement to
finance two hydroelectric plants. In 2011, Roseximbank loaned
Ecuador $123 million to build two hydroelectric plants which are
due to open in 2015.
Correa also said Ecuador is interested in buying Russian military
equipment in the form of helicopters and trucks.
Ecuador and Russia have been strategic economic partners, and
trade between the countries reached a record $1.3 billion in
Russia imported about $1.2 billion in bananas, seafood, and
flowers from the country. Ecuador imported roughly $116 million
in medical equipment, mineral fertilizers, and paper from Russia.
The Ecuadorian President plans to visit Moscow’s Skolkovo
start-up hub on Wednesday. While in St. Petersburg on Monday,
Correa invited the city’s scientists to visit Ecuador and help
contribute to a new science city that will specialize in bio and
nanotechnologies, information systems, and textiles.
The Ecuadorian president will also stop in Belarus and France.
Correa has ramped up oil output since 2010, when all
joint-venture partners were forced to become service contractors
Last year, Ecuador signed a memorandum agreement with Gazprom to
explore drilling opportunities in the muddy natural gas field in
the Gulf of Guayaquil. The gas giant has also been involved in
exploration in the Urumaco blocks, which have reserves of about
100 billion cubic meters.
Last year Correa authorized oil drilling in the Amazon
rainforest, at Yasuni National Park.
Rosneft already has a joint venture with Ecuador’s more much oil rich neighbor Venezuela. Rosneft partnered with PDVSA, the country’s market dominating national oil company. Russian companies are already involved in 5 oil projects in Venezuela, the world’s fifth largest oil exporter, with proven reserve of almost 300 billion barrels, by BP statistics.
CEO Igor Sechin frequently visits Venezuela, and plans to invest
$10 billion in oil and gas projects.