The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ecuador moving to increase state role in oil sector

* Government moves to improve commodity export revenue

* Correa says Congress has run out of time to pass law

* Firms that do not comply could be taken over by state

QUITO, July 24 (Reuters) - Ecuador will enact a law on Monday aimed at increasing state control over the country's oil sector, and that could set the stage for nationalization of noncomplying companies, President Rafael Correa said.

The law will govern new contracts the government is preparing, aimed at increasing state oil revenues.

Congress had scheduled a debate on the bill for Sunday evening, but Correa said on Saturday lawmakers have waited too long to act on his government's proposal. The bill was marked "urgent," meaning Congress had only 30 days to act on the legislation before it would be automatically enacted.

"With this law, petroleum companies that do not abide by the policies of the state will have their fields nationalized and they will leave the country," the president said during his regular Saturday television address.

Oil is Ecuador's top export. Correa's government wants foreign companies to give up their profit-sharing deals and become service providers in exchange for a flat fee.

"If they (lawmakers) want to meet on Sunday evening, let them do as they please," Correa said. "But on Monday, in strict defense of the Constitution, the bill will become the law of the republic."

On Thursday, Ecuador ended French oil company Perenco's contract for two petroleum blocks and one field, and said state-run Petroamazonas would take over operating the areas.

Perenco had been in a lengthy tax dispute with the government.

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