Energy giant Repsol fined $10M after Peru oil spill

Peru’s environmental authorities announced new fines Monday against Spanish energy giant Repsol totaling more than $10 million — the latest sanction for an oil spill that polluted beaches and cost thousands their livelihoods.

Almost 12,000 barrels of crude spilled into the sea off Peru on January 15 as a tanker unloaded oil at a Repsol-owned refinery.

Peru said more than 700,000 people were affected by the spill which forced the closure of 20 beaches and dozens of tourism businesses.

At least 5,000 fishers and shopkeepers lost their livelihoods.

Repsol had blamed the spill on freak waves caused by a volcanic eruption more than 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) away near Tonga.

The environment ministry said Monday that its Environmental Assessment and Monitoring Agency (OEFA) fined Repsol $3.5 million for reporting “false information” about the extent of the spill, and another $7.3 million for not doing enough to contain and clean up the mess.

In July, the OEFA had fined Repsol another $1.3 million for “failing to identify” the areas affected by the spill.

Repsol and five other companies also face civil lawsuits in Peru for $4.5 billion in damages to the environment and individuals.

On its website, Repsol Peru says that its La Pampilla Refinery, where the spill took place, had signed compensation agreements with more than 3,200 families and others affected, including ice cream and umbrella vendors, and motorcycle taxi drivers. (AFP)

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