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Monday, May 25, 2009

Petroecuador to sell seized Perenco oil

Petroecuador will move ahead with an auction of 1.4 million barrels of oil seized from France's Perenco despite being ordered not to by the international centre for the settlemend of investment disputes.

The auction will take place on 15 May as planned, Byron Galarza, a Petroecuador spokesman, told Bloomberg today.

“There will be no changes to the schedule of the sale unless the attorney general intervenes,” he said.

Ecuador seized the French oil company’s crude because of a dispute over $338 million in back taxes plus interest, the news agency said.

The World Bank court ordered PetroEcuador to stop the planned auction and told Perenco to deposit the value of the disputed tax payments into an account managed by an independent third party, Ecuador’s attorney general’s office said 11 May in a statement.

Ecuador in October 2007 increased a 50% windfall tax on oil to 99% to obtain a greater share of crude revenue.

The government has said that Perenco and other companies have not paid the full tax, which has since been cut to 70%.

Ecuador plans to retain 70% of Perenco’s output until the dispute is resolved or the debt paid off, Ecuadorean Mines & Oil Minister Derlis Palacios said on 4 March.

Perenco produces 25,000 barrels per day in the South American country.

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