A good week and a half after the oil spill in Peru, emergency forces are still busy fighting the oil spill. The contaminated beaches near the Peruvian capital Lima are far from being cleared of oil. In addition, oil spilled into the sea again on Wednesday during cleanup operations.
Now the Peruvian prosecutor’s office has opened investigations against four managers of the oil company Repsol. The company’s shares have been on a downward trend for some time. Nevertheless, Repsol papers managed to turn positive in the short term despite the misfortune.
Market leader in Spain
The Spanish energy group Repsol is active worldwide in the production and refining of crude oil and natural gas. Repsol fuels are sold not only to end users, but also to transportation companies and the aviation industry.
For this purpose, Repsol operates a large network of nearly 7000 sales and service stations in Europe and in Latin America. Of these, more than 3,000 outlets are located in Spain alone.
In 2020, the Group generated global sales of around 49.7 billion euros. Compared to the world’s largest oil companies such as Exxon Mobile, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, PetroChina or Total and BP, Repsol is a comparatively small oil company, but in Spain it is the market leader.
Environmental damage and impairment of regional fisheries
Repsol’s refineries are mainly located in Spain and Argentina. However, a refinery is also located in Peru, where about 6000 barrels of oil spilled during the unloading of a tanker about a week and a half ago.
The accident contaminated 21 beaches and polluted many animals with oil. The full extent of the disaster was initially unclear, as the oil also drifts out to sea and settles there on the seabed.
Repsol said the cause of the accident was high waves due to the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano on Tonga.
In addition to the environmental damage and the animals that died as a result of the spill, the disaster has already affected the region’s fishermen, who expect to lose a lot of income in the upcoming summer season and beyond. Experts estimate that it will take at least 3 years to repair the damage caused to the fishery.
Accusation of environmental pollution
During the cleanup work, the damaged tanker leaked again last Wednesday, causing another oil spill.
Following the incident, the city of Ventanilla, which was affected by the accident, demanded an immediate halt to operations at the local Repsol refinery and also accused the Spanish company of downplaying the damage caused and dragging out the cleanup efforts.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has now launched an investigation, accusing the refinery’s production manager, environmental officer and two other Repsol executives of environmental pollution.