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Biofuels would be produced at Chinese refinery in Limón, says Costa Rica oil chief

January 10, 2015

Costa Rica’s National Oil Refinery, RECOPE, is set to start a new feasibility study on a Chinese-funded oil refinery in the Caribbean province of Limón, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.

News of the agreement came as Costa Rican and Chinese officials reached consensus Friday on how to move forward with the $1.5 billion project after the Central American country’s Comptroller General’s Office canceled the previous project over a conflict of interest in 2013.

RECOPE President Sara Salazar said that the national oil refinery would oversee the new feasibility study and there would be an “exhaustive” review of the Chinese-Costa Rican Reconstruction Corporation (SORESCO), a joint partnership between the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation and RECOPE formed to build the new refinery and upgrade in Moín, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.

Salazar said the latest agreement with her Chinese counterparts would assure transparency and accountability in the project.

The new refinery would produce biofuels and “green” fuels, as well as refine gasoline and diesel, Salazar added. RECOPE currently does not refine any fuel for the national market.

After an investigation, the Comptroller General’s Office said that Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Corp., the company that conducted a feasibility study of the project, was a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation, a partner with RECOPE in the construction of the refinery. The office said that conflict of interest violated the concession’s contract.

President Xi Jinping extended Costa Rica a $900 million loan to finance the project during his 2013 visit with former President Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014).

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