Just when it needs it most, Ecuador is getting a financial boost from rising oil prices.
Energy minister Carlos Pérez said Tuesday that Ecuador has made a billion dollars over the past year due to rising prices. “We are facing budget difficulties and the extra income provided by petroleum is offering welcome relief,” he said at a news conference. “All indications are that prices will continue to rise, although not at the rate we’ve seen over the past year.”
Pérez added that the current national budget was calculated based on an international oil price of $38 a barrel. On Tuesday, the benchmark West Texas crude price closed above $72 a barrel. “Obviously, this is good news for the economy.”
Ecuador’s oil, divided between the Napo and Oriente production fields, earns about $6 less per barrel than the West Texas price due to its thicker consistency.
Currently, Ecuador produces an average of 513,000 barrels of oil a day, a figure Pérez expects to increase once OPEC limits are raised later this year. Recent calculations indicate the country has 15 to 20 years of oil reserves although the figure was revised upward in 2017 due to the discovery of untapped oil fields.