Ecuador seeks private partner to invest in Esmeraldas refinery

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador is seeking a private partner to invest in state-run oil company Petroecuador’s 110,000 barrel-per-day Esmeraldas refinery, the energy ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The purpose of the deal would be to improve the management of the facility and the quality of the fuel it produces. It comes after a power outage in April left the facility’s fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCC) out of service.

“This is not a monetization process,” Energy Minister Rene Ortiz said in a statement, adding that the refinery would remain property of the Ecuadorean state. “It is a process to transfer and delegate a portion of the operations of the Esmeraldas refinery.”

The ministry did not give a timeline on when it expected to strike a deal with a potential partner.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, writing by Brian Ellsworth and Luc Cohen