Price of high-test gas heads higher, Spain won’t turn opposition leader over to Venezuela, Company agrees to fix hydro plant cracks

May 3, 2019

The price of a gallon of high-test, or Super, gasoline will increase from $2.75 to $3 this month, government-owned Petroecuador announced Wednesday. Petroecuador said the hike is the result of higher costs at country’s gasoline terminals and will be passed on to consumers.

Last year, the government ended the subsidy for Super, saying that future prices would be determined by the international market. At the same time, the government increased the price of regular gasoline, or Ecopais, from $1.48 to $1.85 a gallon but said the price would remain fixed for the foreseeable future.

Engineers examine cracks at Coca Coda hydro plant. (El Comercio)

Chinese company agrees to repairs at hydro plant

The Chinese manufacturer of the turbines at the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant has agreed to repair cracks in the plant’s turbine components. More than 7,000 cracks have been identified by private contractors in the distributor units that channel water through the turbines.

The turbine manufacturer Harbin was contracted by general contractor Sinohydro, and agreed to make the repairs following negotiations with Sinohydro and the Ecuadorian electric ministry. Harbin says the cracks will be welded in a special process that withstands extremely high water pressure. The repairs will be supervised by the German consulting firm Tüv Süv, one of the firms that identified the cracks.

Coca Codo Sinclair, located about 100 kilometers east of Quito, was completed in 2016 and is Ecuador’s largest hydroelectric plant.

Spain will not turn Leopoldo López over to Venezuela

The Spanish government said Thursday that it does not intend to deliver Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López to the Venezuelan government. López, his wife and 15-month-old daughter sought refuge at the home of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas Tuesday afternoon.

Leopoldo López

López escaped house arrest Tuesday morning to join self-proclaimed Venezuelan interim president Juan Guaido in an uprising to unseat President Nicolas Maduro. As the coup attempt appeared to falter, López first took refuge at the Chilean embassy in Caracas before moving to the Spanish ambassador’s residence.

López was arrested in 2014 on conspiracy and arson charges that were later dropped but was imprisoned on a new charge of “inciting violence through subliminal messages” in 2015.

Spain calls López a “political prisoner.”

Consumer confidence edges up

Consumer confidence among Ecuadorians showed modest gains in February and March following declines in December and January, the Central Bank of Ecuador said. The bank’s Consumer Confidence Index increased 0.8 percent in February and 1.1 percent in March to 38.9 points.

Despite the two-month rise, the bank reports that year-over-year consumer confidence is down 1.4 percent compared to 2018. The bank blames the decline on high rates of under-employment in Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca and Machala.

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