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Ivanhoe Energy starts drilling in Ecuador

QUITO, Ecuador, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Crude producer Ivanhoe Energy announced it began the drilling process of its first appraisal well in the Pungarayacu oil field in Ecuador.

Ivanhoe said it began drilling the first appraisal well, IP-15, at the giant oil field in Ecuador. David Martin, chairman and chief executive officer at Ivanhoe's Latin America division, described the spudding as a milestone for the company.

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He noted the Pungarayacu oil field is the largest source of heavy oil in Ecuador.

"We look forward to the development of this important resource for the people of Ecuador," he said.

Ivanhoe said it plans to drill the well to about 1,300 feet to examine core data and survey potential oil-bearing zones. An evaluation program follows in February.

Independent analysis of the reserves at Pungarayacu puts the combined capacity within a 250-square-mile section of the block at 22.8 billion barrels of oil in place.

Ivanhoe has permits to test and drill three more wells in the region following the completion of IP-15.

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