(Adds quote from minister)
By Alexandra Valencia
TIPUTINI, Ecuador, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Ecuador’s oil minister said on Thursday the Andean country would ask in November to be exempt from OPEC production quotas, citing fiscal problems because of lower crude prices.
Ecuador is seeking support for its request from OPEC members including Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, Carlos Perez told journalists during a visit to a jungle oil field.
OPEC’s smallest member faces a huge fiscal deficit and funding needs because of low oil prices and a devastating earthquake last year.
“Ecuador will request authorization to give us the possibility of not complying with the goals set by OPEC,” Perez told reporters, noting that Ecuador’s production was marginal within the oil cartel.
The Andean country plans to increase crude production by 50,000 barrels per day by 2018, with the addition of new reserves to be exploited in the Tiputini and Tambococha fields.
State oil company Petroamazonas operates the Tiputini field, while the Tambococha fields, which it also operates, will begin crude oil production in December.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is to meet by the end of November and is expected to maintain the production cut until March, according to Perez.
Ecuador’s financing needs have forced the government of President Lenin Moreno, who took office in May, to resort to international markets, tax reforms and public-sector austerity measures.
Ecuador’s oil production stands at 530,000 bpd, including that of Petroamazonas and private firms. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer and Girish Gupta; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Cooney)