Peru sues Spain’s Repsol for $4.5 billion over oil spill

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LIMA: Peru has filed a lawsuit against Spanish energy company Repsol over January’s massive oil spill that ravaged its shores, seeking $4.5 billion in damages.

The lawsuit was filed in the 27th Civil Court of Lima against six companies: Repsol (Spain), Mapfre Global Risks (Spain), Mapfre Peru Insurance and Reinsurance Companies (Peru), La Pampilla Refinery (Peru), Transtotal Maritime Agency (Peru ) and Fratelli d’amico Armatori (Italy, owner of the tanker involved), the Peruvian consumer protection agency said.

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“These lawsuits could set precedents for oil spills that cause damage and collective immaterial damage due to environmental pollution of coastal areas,” said Julian Palacin, executive director of the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Protection. intellectual property (INDECOPI). , in a statement released Friday evening.

INDECOPI sought $3 billion for environmental damage to Peru’s coast, and an additional $1.5 billion in compensation to consumers, residents and others affected by the disaster, the lawsuit says.

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Repsol in a statement on Saturday dismissed the complaint as baseless.

“The (INDECOPI) estimates lack the bare minimum needed to back up the figures given,” the Spanish oil company said of the $4.5 billion requested by Peru.

The spill happened on January 15 as the Italian-flagged tanker “Mare Doricum” was unloading crude oil at Repsol’s La Pampilla refinery in Ventanilla, 30 kilometers north of Lima.

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The oil company blamed the incident on waves caused by a massive volcanic eruption on the island of Tonga, across the Pacific Ocean, and the Peruvian government called it an “ecological disaster”.

The oil spill affected more than 700,000 residents, mostly fishermen, and forced the closure of around 20 beaches and dozens of businesses in the area.

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