Perenco denies it abandoned fields

Germanico Pinto: Perenco denies Pinto claim that it abandoned oilfields.

Anglo-French oil company Perenco denied what it said were unfounded allegations by Ecuador that it had abandoned its oil blocks in the country.

However, it offered to hold a technical meeting with Ecuador to ensure an orderly transition after what it says is a government takeover of its fields.

The statements, made in a letter to Ecuador’s government, come after Ecuador last week sent officials to run the Perenco blocks, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report.

The company had threatened to suspend output following the non-respect of an arbitration order.

In the letter to Ecuadorean Energy Minister Germanico Pinto and to Luis Jaramillo, president of state-owned Petroecuador, Perenco - along with its partner Burlington Resources, a unit of US supermajor ConocoPhillips - said it intended "to continue to occupy the fields and provide maintenance security for them" unless arbitration tribunals terminate its operational contracts.

Perenco also denied a government claim that interrupting production at the fields would have been illegal, saying "Ecuadorean and international law permit a party to suspend" production if a contract is breached by its counterpart.

Perenco reiterated in its letter that the takeover of day-to-day operations is tantamount to an expropriation, which the government has denied.

But, in its letter, the company also offered "a technical meeting to assure an orderly post-takeover transition of our employees and contractors to Ecuador or a state company."

Following the takeover of its day-to-day operations in Ecuador, Perenco has said it would file a claim with a World Bank tribunal.

Rodrigo Marquez, Perenco's Latin America regional manager, said the "expropriation claim will be filed unless Ecuador returns control of the fields and complies with the (arbitration) decisions."

"Otherwise the additional claim will be filed in the near future pursuant to the tribunal's rules," he said.


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