Conservative candidate Guillermo Lasso, 65, won the presidential election in South American oil producer Ecuador, and said he would propose new oil deals to private oil companies.
Lasso won the run-off against Andres Arauz, 36, who was running on a socialist platform for more social spending. Arauz, a socialist economist and protégé of former left-wing president Rafael Correa, conceded defeat on Monday with more than 95 percent of the votes counted.
Pro-business and free-market proponent Lasso won the presidency in his third time running for president, promising to bring more foreign investment in Ecuador to create more jobs.
Lasso, who is set to take office on May 24 from incumbent president Lenin Moreno, said on Monday he would look to boost Ecuador’s crude oil production by offering new risk-sharing contracts to private oil firms. The new president will respect all current contracts with foreign firms in Ecuador, Lasso said, as carried by Reuters. The markets cheered the news of pro-business Lasso winning Ecuador’s presidency.
Ecuador was a member of OPEC until 2020, when it left the organization because it needed government revenues to cope with fiscal deficits, while the cartel was going on with its oil production cuts to prop up oil prices and balance the market. At the time when Ecuador left OPEC, it was pumping just over 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil.
Last year, Ecuador’s average crude oil production stood at around 479,000 bpd. Earlier in 2021, Ecuador’s Energy Minister Rene Ortiz set a 2021 production target of 500,000 bpd for this year, which would be 4 percent higher than the 2020 output that was affected by the pandemic and the decline in global oil demand, as well as pipeline ruptures. Poorly maintained and aging energy infrastructure, especially pipelines, could undermine Ecuador’s ambitions to boost its oil production, analysts say.