The government of Ecuador has invited private bids to build a second 514-km oil pipeline under a 20-year operating concession. The 500-km state pipeline built in 1972, has already been expanded twice. Currently, Ecuador can produce a maximum of about 385,000 barrels per day. The hallmark of the new pipeline route is that it does not cross any national park or ecological reserve. In earthquake-prone zones, it would be buried to prevent disruption of supply. Alvaro Caravia, of Techint, an Argentinian company interested in bidding for the us $400 million project, said, "The new pipeline is an incentive for companies at the exploration stage." The new pipeline, called soco, will run from Sacha in north-eastern Ecuador to Balao on the north-western Pacific coast.
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