November 16, 2017 / 2:01 AM / a month ago

Ecuador to sign payment deal for Schlumberger debt

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuadorean state-owned oil firm Petroamazonas will sign an agreement this month to settle $300 million in unpaid bills from oil services company Schlumberger, an arrangement that includes a five-year financing deal, the Oil Ministry said on Wednesday.

The smallest member of OPEC earlier this year reported a debt of $850 million with Schlumberger that it had promised to pay down in separate disbursements.

Petroamazonas said it had paid down $550 million since July, and that the deal to be signed in late November would clear its debt with Schlumberger.

“At the end of November, an agreement will be signed to complete a $300 million payment, which will complete 100 percent of the value owed,” the ministry said in the statement.

It will make one payment of $100 million in cash by the end of the month and $200 million over five years, the ministry said in response to an email from Reuters.

Schlumberger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ecuador has faced cash-flow problems since the collapse of crude oil prices in 2014, and has used different sources of financing mechanisms to cover arrears with local and foreign suppliers.

Schlumberger has said that the debt with Ecuador was causing “considerable financial strain” and has shown willingness to reach a payment deal.

Petroamazonas this month reported a payment of $300 million to Schlumberger through a bond issue.

Ecuador and Schlumberger reached an agreement in July to lower the prices for oilfield services.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Peter Cooney

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