Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has announced that Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, and Ecuador-based Petroecuador have signed a Memorandum of Intent in order to build a new refinery in the coastal province of Manabi, NE Ecuador. The new refinery, which will have a production capacity of 300,000bpd, will generate USD 2 billion annual earnings, help meet demand in India and China and let Ecuador put an end to fuel oil imports from other countries. According to Ecuador’s Government, investments for the plant construction are estimated in USD 5 billion and may be the first project financed by the Banco del Sur, an entity composed of Paraguay, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil to promote better financing to the region. Petroecuador and PDVSA are to define the necessary technical, environmental and financing studies for the project development. Both companies will lead construction; however, the project is open to other national oil companies in South America. President Correa announced that construction is expected to begin in 2008, last 4 to 5 years and once ready, it will aim at processing crude from Ecuador’s mature fields and Venezuela heavy crude oil.