Quito, Ecuador – Ecuador has extended to July 16 the deadline to submit offers for companies interested in the country’s 11th oil-licensing round for blocks located in the southeast, the Ministry of Nonrenewable Natural Resources said.
The original deadline was May 30.
The ministry said in a press release that several companies interested in the blocks will have more time to review the geology of the oil blocks and to complete legal paperwork necessary to submit their bids.
The licensing round was called last November for 13 blocks in Pastaza and Morona Santiago provinces, located in the southeastern Amazon region.
Additionally, as part of the licensing round state-run oil company Petroamazonas will negotiate directly with foreign state-owned counterparts to jointly develop the other three blocks in the area.
The release added that as originally planned, the contracts will be signed in the last quarter of this year.
The government has said that it expects total investment of between $1.0 billion and $1.2 billion, including the three blocks for state companies.
According to preliminary studies, the southeast area could have up to 1.6 billion barrels of oil reserves.
The contracts for the 11th licensing round will provide a four-year exploration period and a 20-year development period, if commercial discovery of oil is made.
Indigenous residents from Ecuador’s Amazonian region have said they will go to local and international courts to stop the oil activity in the southeast.
Oil is Ecuador’s main source of revenue.