Petroperu again delays Talara refinery upgrade bid

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13 -- Recent alleged irregularities at Peru's state-owned Petroperu have led the company to further extend to Oct. 30 its deadline for bids on the front-end engineering design and the engineering, procurement, and construction of facilities to modernize its Talara refinery at Piura, 1,200 km north of the country's capital Lima.

The delay, one of several in recent weeks, apparently stems from news of alleged irregularities in the country's latest bidding round, which led to the resignation of Energy and Mines Minister Juan Valdiva, along with Petroperu head Cesar Gutierrez.

Their resignations came after Pres. Alan Garcia fired Petroperu board member Alberto Quimper Herrera, allegedly for participating in a kickback scheme with Discover Petroleum in the recent bids for oil exploration licenses.

In September Petroperu extended the bidding deadline to Oct. 15 from Oct. 3. Petroperu said it intended to present the contract on Oct. 29.

At the time, Gutierrez said the Talara modernization project was part of a wider effort to double Peru's production. To do so, he said, Petroperu would have to modernize the Talara refinery at a cost of $1 billion and start production from the 12 blocks where petroleum exploration is taking place (OGJ Online, Sept. 16, 2008).

Modernization of the Talara refinery will include revamping existing units and adding facilities for desulfurization of diesel and gasoline, production of sulfuric acid, and electricity generation. According to the US Energy Administration, the capacity of the facility is to be increased to 90,000-100,000 b/d from 62,000 b/d.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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