By MERCEDES ALVARO
QUITO, Ecuador -- Ecuador has awarded to Brazilian company Norberto Odebrecht a contract to prepare the construction site for the Refineria del Pacifico, a nearly $13 billion project run by state oil companies of Venezuela and Ecuador.
Pedro Merizalde, manager of the Refineria del Pacifico project, told Dow Jones Newswires on Thursday the work to prepare the area had a referential cost of $315 million, but Odebrecht submitted an offer of $230 million.
According to Mr. Merizalde, the contract could be signed next month, when the company completes all necessary administrative procedures.
The deadline for completing the work is 28 months from the signing of the contract.
Merizalde said Ecuador received 14 bids, but only five met all requirements.
Refineria del Pacifico, located in the coastal province of Manabi, is scheduled to go on line in 2015 and to reach its complete capacity of production of 300,000 bpd in 2016.
The administration of President Rafael Correa is still seeking partners to raise financing for the project, which was announced in 2007.
Earlier this year, China National Petroleum Corp, or CNPC, and the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China signed a letter of intent that outlines China's interest in providing financing for the project.
Recently, Ecuador's Minister Coordinator of Strategic Sectors Jorge Glas said that talks with CNPC are advancing well, but if there is no agreement then Ecuador will look for other partners.
Dow Jones Newswires