* Correa won re-election in February with 57 pct of votes
* Ecuador is OPEC's smallest member, produces 500,000 bpd
(Adds details and background throughout)
By Alexandra Valencia
QUITO, April 30 Ecuadorean President Rafael
Correa will name a new oil minister and a new finance minister
next week, a high-ranking government official told the state-run
news agency Andes on Tuesday.
Oil Minister Wilson Pastor will be replaced by Pedro
Merizalde, head of the Pacifico refinery project, Correa's legal
secretary, Alexis Mera, told the news agency.
Correa will name Fausto Herrera as finance minister,
replacing Patricio Rivera, who will be appointed minister for
economic policy, Mera said.
Herrera currently serves as deputy finance minister.
Correa was due to make the appointments on Tuesday but his
busy schedule forced him to postpone the event until at least
next week, Mera said.
Pastor was named oil minister in April 2010. He was in
charge of negotiations to force oil companies to sign service
contracts in late 2010.
Following the signing of these deals, Ecuador's revenues
from the oil sector boomed. The Andean country is OPEC's
smallest member and produces around 500,000 barrels of crude oil
Correa, a member of an alliance of leftist Latin American
presidents, won re-election in February with about 57 percent of
the vote. He later said he planned a Cabinet reshuffle. Correa's
inauguration is scheduled for May 24.
In power since 2007, Correa has won broad support with heavy
spending on welfare, health, education and infrastructure
But the socialist president has also scared away investors
by using anti-capitalist rhetoric, defaulting on $3.2 billion of
debt in 2008 and pushing through a new constitution that gave
him more power.
Ecuador has not attracted investments in oil exploration
since private companies were strong-armed into signing service
contracts in 2010. Output has been stuck at 500,000 bpd.
In late February, Correa said that even though Ecuador had
struggled to obtain financing, its ambitious $12.5 billion
Pacifico oil refinery - a joint venture between state-run PDVSA
of Venezuela and Petroecuador - would be up and running on
schedule in 2016.
The country also hopes to attract around $1 billion in
investments for 16 oil blocks in Amazon regions, even though
indigenous groups oppose oil exploration on their lands.
Shortly after his sweeping re-election victory, Correa told
Reuters that Ecuador could consider issuing debt for the first
time since the default.
Ecuador is also considering launching an exchange offer for
holdout creditors, which would improve investor confidence in
(Writing by Eduardo Garcia; Editing by Philip Barbara and