Ecuador Energy Minister Carlos Perez has announced an ambitious plan to increase the country’s oil production from 540,000 to 700,000 barrels a day by 2021.
“The plan is to reach 700,000 barrels a day by the end of 2021 and I believe this is a goal that’s achievable,” Perez said Saturday. “The second part of the plan is to reduce domestic consumption of petroleum products by increasing hydroelectric generation capacity and begin conversion to electric motor vehicles, particularly in the area of public transport.”
To boost oil production, Perez says the hydrocarbons office has contracted with the U.S. company Electronic Engineering to design more efficient and profitable methods of oil extraction. “This company has an excellent record of environmental protection, which is critical to our production in sensitive areas, such as the Amazon rain forest.”
Part of his optimism for growth, says Perez, is the discovery of almost three billion barrels of new oil reserves since 2015.
In the short term, Perez said that OPEC production caps will restrict increased pumping but he said this is a temporary measure. “We will work with OPEC and support the goal of stabilizing international markets,” he said. “Prices have increased by more than 15% since the first of the year and we expect to see a gradually strengthening market over the next four years.”
Perez said that the country’s program to increase hydroelectric power production should be completed within two years. “Despite the fact that we’re behind schedule, we are beginning to see major benefits and these will continue,” he said. He added that he expects electricity usage to begin to reduce LP gas consumption in the coming years.