By Marcelo Rochabrun
(Bloomberg) –Peru’s Environment Minister Albina Ruiz called out Spanish oil firm Repsol SA Thursday for only paying a small fraction of fines tied to the country’s worst oil spill on record.
Speaking to reporters, Ruiz said Repsol had paid just 2.8 million soles ($780,000), or about 3% of the 97 million soles imposed after 10,000 barrels were spilled into the Pacific Ocean early last year. Repsol said in a text response that it had actually paid 9.8 million soles, or 10% of the overall figure given by the ministry.
The government is amping up pressure on the operator of Peru’s largest refinery over one of the country’s worst environmental disasters. The spill took place last year as oil was being discharged from a tanker, affecting a nature reserve, beaches and fishermen.
Ruiz said Repsol should at least pay another 19 million soles because those fines have already been confirmed through administrative appeals, while others are still pending. The company said it had appealed fines because it doesn’t consider them applicable. “Of course, if the higher body confirms them, Repsol will obey what the country’s authorities say,” the company said in its statement.
Repsol said that aside from the fines, it has spent over a billion soles on works tied to cleaning up the environment.
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