QUITO, Jun 29 (.) – Ecuadorian state oil company Petroecuador said on Monday it received offers from seven companies interested in buying some 3.6 million barrels of Oriente crude in a spot sale tender launched over the weekend.

Petroecuador offered to export the crude in 10 shipments of 360,000 barrels each between July and September this year, starting with a window between July 26 and 28.

The state-owned company said it invited 56 qualified companies to participate in the tender, whose offers are indexed to West Texas Intermediate (WTI), a benchmark for the oil country.

Petroecuador entered the market with this spot sale at a time when the Ecuadorian economy faces liquidity problems due to the drop in the price of crude oil and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The companies that submitted bids were the US refiners Phillips 66 and Tesoro Refining, as well as merchants Vitol Inc, Lukoil, Trafigura, Petrochina International and Unipec America.

In February of this year, the Ecuadorian state-owned company awarded nearly 1.1 million barrels of Oriente crude to Phillips 66.

(Report by Alexandra Valencia. Edited by Javier Leira)