The government of Peru has ousted the chief executive of state oil company Petroperu and has imposed a fine of around US$3.5 million for illegal use of an old pipeline that has resulted in several serious leaks.
The country’s Energy and Mines Minister Rosa Maria Ortiz said that the pipeline, which runs 687 miles across the Amazon, was supposed to be closed for repairs, but that it was discovered that Petroperu was still using it to carry crude. This activity led to the latest spill, of some 600 barrels, for which will be penalized US$3.5 million by the local Environmental regulator OEFA.
German Velasquez formally resigned on Tuesday.
The pipeline, which is around 40 years old and transports crude to Petroperu’s Talara refinery, has been leaking since 2011—23 spills in total, according to Reuters. OEFA had previously fined the company in the amount of US$3 million for a spill that occurred in 2014. OEFA may decide to impose additional fines in the future, Reuters suggested.
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This latest spill, encompassing two ruptures, totaled about 477 barrels of crude, making it Petroperu’s third spill this year. The largest poured over 3,000 barrels across 16 Amazonian communities, and prompted the government to declare a state of emergency. At the time, Petroperu insisted it has stopped all activity along this pipeline following the spill.
It remains unclear who will replace Velasquez.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.