Ecuador's Petroecuador awards 2.16 million bbl tender to PetroChina

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador’s state oil company Petroecuador said on Monday that it had awarded a tender to purchase some 2.16 million barrels of Oriente grade crude to PetroChina, part of which will be exported via a new pipeline connection to the Punta Gorda port.

In a statement, Petroecuador said PetroChina will pay a discount of $2.49 per barrel to West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices for the portion of crude exported from Balao, Ecuador’s traditional oil port, and a premium of $2 per barrel over WTI for the portion exported via Punta Gorda.

The plan comes after Petroecuador and privately held crude transport company OCP Ecuador signed a deal in March to build a pipeline connection between Petroecuador’s Balao port and OCP’s Punta Gorda, both in the province of Esmeraldas on the Pacific Coast.

Unlike Balao, Punta Gorda can handle very large crude carriers (VLCCs), vessels that can transport more than 2 million barrels of crude. The new connection enables Ecuador to export lighter Oriente crude via Punta Gorda, rather than just the heavier Napo crude OCP’s pipeline mainly transports.

PetroChina presented the best offer of four companies that submitted bids, Petroecuador said, adding that it would deliver the crude in three cargoes of 360,000 barrels each at Balao and one cargo of 1.08 million barrels at Punta Gorda in June.

Petroecuador said the sale was enabled by its plan to reschedule crude deliveries it owes to a unit of Thailand’s PTT from 2021 and 2022 to 2023, enabling the company to sell more cargoes in the spot market and take advantage of rising crude prices.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Jonathan Oatis