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State of Emergency Declared in Ecuador

Ecuadorian President Lucio Gutierrez has declared state oil company Petroecuador...

State of Emergency Declared in Ecuador

Ecuadorian President Lucio Gutierrez has declared state oil company Petroecuador to be in a state of emergency. He demanded for the restructuring of the firm and halting of widespread fuel theft. According to Gutierrez, the restructuring should define the firm's role in operating or regulating Ecuador's substantial oil resources, which suffer from underinvestment and environmental damage.

"I am going to declare today a state of emergency in Petroecuador so we can restructure Petroecuador and reduce its bureaucracy," Gutierrez said at a press conference after a list of new measures to prevent fuel theft. A state of emergency is designed to help the government make changes more quickly.

Gutierrez has fired senior Petroecuador officials. He said he ordered state prosecutors to probe past presidents of the company, which has seen its oil output decline to 200,000 b/d due to a lack of cash for investment and political setbacks.

Last year, the president and his allies faced down striking workers, and invited private investment in fields accounting for half Petroecuador's production. Bids on the fields are due March 23rd.


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