Ecuadorian state oil firm Petroamazonas expects crude reserves at its fields in the Amazon region to climb by around 7 percent through 2030 thanks to a new planning methodology, CEO Oswaldo Madrid said.

"Through 2016 alone, we have the potential for up to six or seven million additional barrels," Madrid told Efe in an interview, adding that the company could add another 63 million barrels between 2016 and 2030.

That would mean an increase of about 7 percent in (Petroamazonas') original proved reserves," which currently amount to 970 million barrels, he added.

Petroamazonas currently produces nearly 150,000 barrels of crude per day, although Madrid expects output will rise to 152,000 bpd at year's end.

Ecuador, the smallest member of OPEC, produces some 500,000 barrels of crude per day, with state oil firms accounting for 60 percent of the total and the rest corresponding to private operators who agreed to accept flat-fee service contracts.

Petroamazonas is one of the country's three state oil firms along with Petroecuador and Rio Napo, the latter a joint venture of Petroecuador and Venezuela's PDVSA.

Madrid said his company has begun to implement an improved oil recovery, or IOR, technique at wells in the Paca Sur, Eden Yuturi and Palo Azul fields, the most promising for the application of that methodology, as well as at projects in the Balsayacu and Jatun Pamba fields.

"If those wells yield the expected results, production could increase by 15,000 barrels per day by 2016," he said.

Madrid said that result will be the result of incorporating a planning methodology known as FEL (Front-End Loading).

Used by the world's leading oil companies, it makes decision-making much more efficient by defining "those projects that can generate the greatest value for the company," he said.

The technique, termed "Metod" by Petroecuador, was developed by a team of geologists, geophysicists, economic planning experts and other specialists and is based on the experiences of international companies like U.S.-based oilfield services firm Halliburton.

It involves "steps and strategies that Petroamazonas will gradually adopt over the short, medium and long term" for use in projects to boost reserves and improve production, Madrid added.

Metod, he said, is a tool that facilitates the selection and prioritization of projects the will generate the greatest value-added. It will involve discarding other plans that might look promising on the surface "but which in practice are not going to yield very positive results."

With the tool, "we'll make the best use of our investment and achieve optimal results," Madrid said, noting that Petroamazonas especially needs this methodology at present because it operates old, declining oil fields.

In addition to this project, being implemented in Ecuador for the first time, Petroamazonas also is using gas associated with crude production to generate electrical power for the oil sector, an initiative also being carried out by Ecuador's other state oil firms and even some private operators. EFE