Bloomberg News

Ecuador Proposes Pastor as OPEC Head Vs Saudi, Iraq Bids

May 31, 2012

Ecuador, OPEC’s smallest producer, nominated Oil Minister Wilson Pastor for secretary-general of the group to replace the outgoing Abdalla el-Badri, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The South American nation has put forward its submission to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Pastor, 66, refused to comment on the matter, Luis Gualotuna, a press officer at the ministry, said by telephone from Quito today. An OPEC official declined to comment on nominations.

El-Badri, the one-time chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp., is due to complete his second three-year term at the end of December. Saudi Arabia, the biggest OPEC member, and Iraq have already put forward possible replacements, while Iran’s Donya-e-Eqtesad newspaper said May 29 that the nation also plans to name a candidate. Ministers will probably consider the nominations at their June 14 meeting at the organization’s Vienna headquarters.

Ecuador, which rejoined OPEC in 2007 after a 15-year hiatus, produced 480,000 barrels a day of oil last month, according to the International Energy Agency. Saudi Arabia supplied 10 million barrels a day, while Iraq produced 3.03 million, the agency said in its monthly oil market report.

Ministerial Role

Pastor was appointed Non-Renewable Natural Resources Minister in April 2010 after running PetroAmazonas, a unit of state oil company PetroEcuador. During his tenure, the country negotiated new service contracts with oil companies in an attempt to boost government revenue from crude production. He speaks Spanish, French and English and studied engineering geology in Ecuador in the late 1960s, then energy economics at the Pierre Mendes-France University in Grenoble, France, according to a biography on OPEC’s website.

Saudi Arabia nominated Majid al-Moneef, its OPEC governor, a person with knowledge of the matter said Feb. 1. Iraq, whose production revival has lifted it into third place among the 12- member group, nominated former Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban, according to a March 6 statement. Iran will name a candidate when OPEC next meets, the Tehran-based Donya-e-Eqtesad paper reported, citing OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi. Khatibi didn’t answer calls to his mobile phone today.

El-Badri’s appointment which started on Jan. 1, 2007, ended three years of deadlock over a permanent appointment for the secretary-general position. He was finally picked instead of contenders from Iran and Kuwait. Rivalry for the post is strong this year too.

‘National Mission’

“This is a national mission to obtain this job for its importance,” Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said in Baghdad today, where he attended an exploration license auction. Ghadhban “is known, eligible for this post.”

Each of OPEC’s 12 members appoints a governor and a national representative to the group. The governor sits on the board, helping manage the organization and its budget, while the representative’s duties include oil market analysis.

The secretary-general’s role is to oversee the Vienna-based secretariat and act as its public face while policy decisions on production quotas are taken by ministers, with one acting as the group’s president each calendar year.

Pastor is used to dealing with international companies. In the late 1980s, he was chief financial officer of Texaco Inc.’s joint venture with state-run PetroEcuador. Chevron Corp. (CVX:US), which acquired Texaco in 2001, was ordered last year to pay as much as $18 billion in compensatory and punitive damages for the U.S. oil company’s alleged dumping of toxic drilling wastes in the Ecuadorean Amazon from 1964 to about 1992.

OPEC’s members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ayesha Daya in Dubai at adaya1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net


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