Peru prosecutors seek travel ban for Repsol execs amid oil leak probe

Workers clean up an oil spill following an underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga, in Ancon, Peru January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

LIMA (Reuters) – Peruvian prosecutors requested on Thursday that the president and three other executives of Spanish oil firm Repsol SA’s local refinery be barred from leaving Peru for 18 months while a probe into an oil leak is under way.

Repsol’s La Pampilla refinery, Peru’s largest, leaked thousands of barrels’ worth of oil off Peru’s central Pacific coast in a Jan. 15 incident, which it blamed on unusually large waves following a major volcanic eruption in distant Tonga.

President Pedro Castillo called it the biggest ecological disaster to affect the Andean nation in recent years.

A judge will review the request by state prosecutors against the Repsol executives later on Thursday.

Repsol representatives in Peru were not immediately available for comment.

Peru’s prime minister, Mirtha Vasquez, said on Monday the government was looking at sanctioning Repsol’s La Pampilla refinery, which accounts for over half of Peru’s refining capacity, following the oil spill.

The country’s environment minister, Ruben Ramirez, on Wednesday said the country was evaluating tough sanctions that could include halting operations at the refinery.

“The State is not going to bend and we will act with a firm hand,” he said.

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