(Adds Tamayo's comments on Petroperu oil pipeline and recent
LIMA Feb 6 Peru's state-owned energy company
Petroperu might sell an "important" amount of bonds
this year to help finance the $3.5 billion expansion of its
Talara refinery, the energy and mines minister said on Monday.
A bond issuance would lower costs and extend the deadline
for paying off debt for the project, which would also be
financed through loans, Minister of Energy and Mines Gonzalo
Tamayo told a press conference.
The government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said last
year that it had ruled out any bond issuance to finance the
project and was instead pursuing loans from Spanish state-backed
insurer Cesce, the World Bank and a lending syndicate.
Tamayo said the government had since reconsidered and that
Petroperu would likely sell the bonds with the state of Peru
providing a guarantee.
Petroperu might also seek a bridge loan until the bonds are
launched, Tamayo added.
"It would be an important issuance," Tamayo said, declining
to specify an amount. "It would have to be this year."
Tamayo also said that in coming days Petroperu would likely
resume operation of the northern branch of its Amazon-to-coast
oil pipeline, and the government was aiming for it to be fully
operational by the end of the year.
The four-decade old pipeline was shuttered a year ago after
the first of what would eventually become a dozen oil spills in
2016 that have frayed Petroperu's relations with nearby
Petroperu started to use trucks to transport oil from tanks
that had fed into the pipeline two months ago, but a recent road
accident spilled another 800 to 1,000 barrels of oil in the
Amazon, Tamayo said.
A clean-up has been delayed because of a dispute with nearby
communities, Tamayo added.
(Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Andrew