(Adds conditions imposed on Wednesday by president)
QUITO/HOUSTON, June 29 (Reuters) - Exports of Ecuador's
flagship Oriente crude remain suspended under a force majeure
declaration as the spread of anti-government protests hurts oil
output, state-run Petroecuador said on Wednesday.
At least eight people have died and road blockades have led
to food and medicine shortages. The crisis has halved oil
output, the country's main source of revenue, to some 234,500
barrels per day while forcing reductions in fuel prices, though
protest leaders have called the price cuts insufficient.
On Wednesday, the government of President Guillermo Lasso
imposed a curfew and restricted transit in four provinces to
restore public order, control violence, secure basic supplies
and protect state property, while marking oilfields and
facilities as secured zones.
The energy minister said on Sunday that output could be
completely halted in a matter of days over acts of vandalism.
Petroecuador has not yet rescheduled the suspended Oriente
cargoes, it said in a release. The firm issued a wide force
majeure declaration over oil exploration, production, transport
and exports on June 18, and enforced the cargo suspension on
"Once the force majeure is overcome, the company will timely
notify companies about operations to coordinate the (cargo)
rescheduling," it said.
Exports of Napo heavy crude have continued flowing,
according to trading and company sources, as the privately held
OCP pipeline, which transports that grade from oilfields, is
working with "relative normality." But the state-owned SOTE
pipeline remains halted since Monday due to low flows.
Customers including BP and Marathon Petroleum
, which had resorted to Ecuadorian oil to try and replace
cargoes of Russian crude lost due to sanctions, are now in talks
with other Latin American and Middle Eastern producers,
including Brazil's state-run Petrobras, to buy oil
cargoes for refining, the trading sources said.
U.S. refiners have increased purchases of Ecuadorian crude
since Washington imposed a phased wind-down of Russian oil
Peru's state-run Petroperu also had won a tender to receive
Ecuadorian crude in coming weeks for its Talara refinery, which
is set to restart this year after an expansion project. But
cargoes were ultimately resold to BP, which is waiting for a
rescheduling to get the oil delivered.
BP, Petrobras and Petroperu did not reply to requests for
comment. Marathon declined to comment.
Lasso on Tuesday survived an attempt by opposition lawmakers
to oust him after he insisted his government would not negotiate
further with an indigenous leader to end more than two weeks of
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito and Marianna Parraga
in Houston; additional reporting by Marco Aquino in Lima;
Editing by Gary McWilliams and Leslie Adler)