The Governments of Ecuador and the United States held a virtual bilateral energy dialogue on July 28, 2020.
Head of the U.S. delegation Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis R. Fannon and Ecuadorian Minister of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources René Ortiz discussed mutually beneficial bilateral goals in energy and investment and efforts to strengthen Ecuador’s energy sector. René Ortiz
Assistant Secretary Fannon highlighted collaboration in the electricity and hydrocarbon sectors and commended Ecuador on the significant progress in attracting private investment to its electricity sector, which has been fueled by the government’s adherence to good governance principals.
Minister Ortiz spoke about the difficult but necessary decision to liberalize fuel prices, which will contribute to free market dynamics, mitigate fuel smuggling into Peru and Colombia, and most importantly, facilitate sound fiscal policy. Ortiz emphasized that as the price of oil rebounds, the government will consider more targeted subsidies for the most-needy segments of the population.
The group also discussed how substantial investment in the energy and extractive industries sectors have not always netted the promised returns to the people of Ecuador. Fannon encouraged Ecuador to establish transparent and competitive procurement processes that protect national sovereignty and security, in order to protect the Ecuadorian economy and the well-being of future generations.
Minister Ortiz spoke about the Ecuadorian government’s desire to de-monopolize the energy sector from state-owned companies. In particular, he noted opportunities for private sector investment in the Esmeraldas Refinery upgrade, the Sacha oil field, and the development of an LNG terminal at Monteverde,
Assistant Secretary Fannon discussed his recently launched Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI) which promotes sound mining sector governance and resilient energy mineral supply chains. Fannon invited Ecuador to consider joining ERGI, and highlighted the ERGI toolkit, an online collection of interactive tools across mining governance disciplines that helps the user build capacity in industry-leading practice by highlighting real-world case studies.
Assistant Secretary Fannon expressed the importance of energy as a component of the America Crece agreement the U.S. and Ecuadorian governments signed in February. He looks forward to further engaging under the America Crece MOU, including through a Working Group meeting later this year.