July 31, 2015 / 10:41 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Ecuador signs $2.5 bln oil supply deal with Thailand

(Adds details from Petroecuador statement and context)

QUITO, July 31 (Reuters) - Ecuador’s state oil company Petroecuador has signed a crude oil supply agreement with a division of Thailand’s state-run PTT under which the Andean country will receive a $2.5 billion up-front payment, according to a statement from the company.

The agreement was signed in June with International Trading Pte Ltd for the sale of 116.6 million barrels of Oriente and Napo crudes, added the statement. (Full text: goo.gl/x1bZtP)

Petroecuador International Trade Manager Nilsen Arias confirmed the deal to Ecuador’s El Universo newspaper.

Strategic Sectors Minister Rafael Poveda last week had said an agreement would be signed with PTT for about $500 million. The talks between the two companies first became public in May.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment. Ecuador signed similar agreements with China totaling about $5.5 billion between 2009 and 2014.

Chinese companies take a large part of Ecuadorian crude exports as debt agreements that are repaid with oil.

Under the terms of these agreements, it is not obligatory that the oil is delivered to China so many companies resell it on the open market, mainly in the Atlantic basin.

It is unclear whether the agreement with Thailand will also allow the country to offer the Ecuadorian crude to the highest bidder.

Low oil prices have hit the economy of Ecuador, OPEC’s smallest member, leading it to seek new funding sources in order to maintain public investments planned for this year.

Ecuador produces around 550,000 barrels of oil per day. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito.; Additional reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston.; Writing by Brian Ellsworth and Girish Gupta in Caracas; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)

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