Oil and gas in Ecuador


  • The oil sector accounts for more than half of the country’s export earnings and two fifths of public sector revenues.
  • Ecuador is the smallest producer in OPEC.
  • In 1992, Ecuador left OPEC owning a debt of over US$5 billion.
  • The country rejoined OPEC in 2007.
  • A lack of sufficient domestic refining capacity to meet local demand has forced Ecuador to import refined products, limiting net oil revenue.
  • There is a challenging investment environment in the country prompted by government initiatives to increase the share of crude oil revenue for the state.
  • The energy mix is largely dependent on oil, which represented 79% of the country’s total energy consumption in 2013.
  • Hydrocarbon resources are exclusively owned by the state.
  • The changes to Ecuador’s legal framework continue to trend toward policies of resources nationalism in the oil sector.

Oil and oil products

  • Ecuador had 8.8 billion bbls of proved crude oil reserves as of January 2015.
  • The country is home to the third largest oil reserves in South America.
  • Most of Ecuador’s oil reserves are in the Oriente Basin.
  • Crude oil production increased sizably in 2004 shortly after the opening of the OCP pipeline.
  • Last year, the country consumed 230 000 bpd of oil.
  • Roughly one third of Ecuadoras oil consumption is diesel fuel and another one fourth is motor gasoline.
  • Fuel prices are controlled by the central government.


  • Ecuador had three commercial oil refineries, with a combined capacity of 176 000 bpd as of January 2015.
  • The refineries are operated by Petroindustrial, a subsidy of Petroecuador.
  • The Esmereldas refinery operates below capacity and is slated to be upgraded to process heavier Ecuador Oriente crude.
  • Natural gas

    • Ecuador has an estimated 212 billion ft3 of proved natural gas reserves.
    • Gross natural gas production was 54 billion ft3 in 2013.
    • There is a low natural utilisation rate in the country as a result of a lack of infrastructure.
    • The Amistad field is Ecuador’s primary natural gas project.

    Adapted from report by Claira Lloyd

    Published on 23/03/2015

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