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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ecuador's Correa Deepens Navy's Control of State Oil Company

By Stephan Kueffner

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Ecuador appointed Navy officers to lead the state-owned oil company's three biggest divisions, deepening the armed forces' control of PetroEcuador.

Patricio Goyes will run the production unit, Carlos Albuja will head refining, and Marco Salinas will oversee sales of oil and other fuels, the company said today in an e-mailed statement.

The personnel moves come after President Rafael Correa last week named a Navy admiral to run the company, which produces about half of the Andean country's roughly 500,000 barrels in daily output. He handed control to the military after a week of protests in the Amazon region shut some output.

Engineers have repaired most well heads and power generators damaged during the demonstrations, restoring output to near previous levels. Residents of the oil-rich region were demanding jobs, improvements to infrastructure and environmental cleanup.

``The intervention of troops and police allowed the mobilization of inspection and maintenance crews,'' PetroEcuador said today.

Goyes was previously an executive vice president at PetroEcuador. Albuja and Salinas studied business administration while pursuing their military careers, today's statement said.

Correa blamed the previous management, led by Carlos Pareja, for inefficiencies at the company and for allowing the protests to cut production in the area as much as 20 percent.

Output in the affected region reached 174,289 barrels today and will rise above 175,000 soon, the company added.

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