November 15, 2017 / 5:43 PM / a year ago

Schlumberger says Ecuador fails to make $350 mln debt payment

QUITO, Nov 15 (Reuters) - French oilfield services company Schlumberger said on Wednesday that Ecuador has not complied with a payment agreement to cover some of its $850 million in debt, complicating its operations in the Andean nation.

Ecuador, the smallest producer in OPEC, promised to fulfill its obligation with the oil company in tranches but failed to make a payment of $350 million in November via a bond issuance by state oil company Petroamazonas.

"The company registers the failure to pay $350 million, out of a debt recognized by Ecuador's ministry of finance of $850 million and which has been paid in installments with a series of delays," Schlumberger said in a statement.

Petroamazonas said in November it would issue bonds in the international market to cover payment.

Ecuador has faced liquidity problems due to the recent drop in crude oil prices and is using different sources of financing to cover payments to international and local contractors.

Petroamazonas did not respond to a request for comment.

The debt has caused "considerable financial strain," Schlumberger has said, and analysts have warned that delays could complicate its operations in the Andean country.

The company operates a consortium with other firms in the Shushufindi field, extracting about 60,400 barrels per day, and has said it will investment some $2 billion from 2018 to increase production.

Ecuador and Schlumberger reached an agreement in July to reduce the tariff that the country pays to service providers for the operation of the fields. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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