OPEC accepts Ecuador as active member

Oct 24, 2007 02:00 AM

Ecuador has been accepted as an active member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after 15 years of absence, Mines and Energy Minister Galo Chiriboga said. OPEC sent a letter two weeks after Ecuador asked for the reactivation of its membership, Chiriboga said.
"We will do all that is required to be present at the next meeting in Saudi Arabia in November," he added. "Ecuador will return to OPEC, which it left in 1992, to foster its strengthening and receive advise from other nations in oil matters," he added.

Ecuador stopped paying OPEC membership fees in 1992, although it never formally left the organization. Chiriboga said Ecuador and OPEC agreed on a three-year payment plan to clear its $ 5.7 mm debt.
Ecuador returns to the cartel as it is renegotiating contracts with overseas oil companies, following a change in law that gives the state 99 % of so-called excess oil profits, corresponding to the extra made by companies due to the increase in oil prices after a contract had been agreed with the state.

The move hits the profits of the following companies: Brazil's Petrobras, China's Andes Petroleum, Spain's Repsol-YPF, the United States' City Oriente, and France's Perenco. Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said earlier that returning to OPEC was an important step for the nation, because it allows the nation, South America's fifth largest producer, to have better information on what other nations are doing.
"OPEC will help us with its experience of renegotiating contract with private oil companies," he said.

Ecuador produces 514 mm bpd, 49 % of which is extracted by private companies.

Source / Xinhua News Agency
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