By Alexandra Valencia
QUITO, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Ecuador's state-owned oil company, Petroecuador, is targeting average output of 425,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) by the end of 2022, manager Italo Cedeno said on Wednesday.
Petroecaudor's production averaged some 380,000 boed until November. It dwindled to a trickle in December after pumping through the SOTE pipeline was suspended and exports halted amid regressive erosion in the Amazon region.
Oil output, including from private companies, hit 491,707 barrels on Monday, according to the energy ministry.
As part of efforts to increase output, Petroecuador expects production at the Ishpingo field - one of its most controversial sites which forms part of the ITT block in the Yasuni ecological reserve in the Amazon - to start in May.
The plan has caused alarm among environmentalists, who warn of damage to Ecuador's biodiveristy and indigenous communities.
"We can't leave that resource underground," Cedeno said. "Either we produce it now or we never produce it, because of the transition to renewable energy."
President Guillermo Lasso previously set his sights on boosting Ecaudor's total oil and gas output to 1 million boed by the end of his term in 2025.
Petroecuador will soon wrap up tenders for drilling some 40 wells in the Ishpingo field, which Cedeno said has a potential to add 150,000 barrels a day to production.
"It's all the money in the world and Ecuador needs it," he said.
Petroecuador will hand over at least 22 fields to the energy ministry to be included in bidding rounds for private producers expected to take place this year, he added.
The company plans to build a new route for the SOTE pipeline, which transports some 360,000 barrels of oil per day, to avoid the impact of regressive erosion which is advancing along the Coca river and its tributaries.
The budget for the new route is $100 million and it will take between 12 and 15 months to build, Cedeno added. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Richard Chang)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.