Bloomberg Línea — Following January’s oil spill in Peru, which contaminated several coastal areas, the case against Spanish energy company Repsol continues to build, with a court having allowed a lawsuit filed by the country’s antitrust and copyright protection body Indecopi for $4.5 billion to proceed, and which also targets other companies.
According to an Indecopi press release, Lima’s 27th civil court ruled that the lawsuit for damages can proceed.
In addition to Repsol, the companies named in the lawsuit are Mapfre Global Risks, Fratelli D’Amico Armatori, Repsol Comercial, the Spanish energy company’s trading arm; Mapfre Perú Compañía de Seguros y Reaseguros, La Pampilla refinery and Empresa Transtotal Agencia Marítima.
The court admitted the lawsuit in view of the evidence presented and gave a term of 30 days for the companies to respond.
The oil spill occurred near the La Pampilla refinery, which is owned by Repsol, on the Lima coast, in January as a ship was attempting to unload oil, and affected 46 beaches, including two protected natural areas, and 19 headlands and cliffs.
The fishermen affected have been compensated by the Spanish company, while Peru’s Congress ruled that it was the main party responsible for the spill, and which has caused an ecological disaster. In July, the country’s environmental evaluation and inspection agency OEFA sanctioned La Pampilla refinery with a fine of more than five million soles, around $1.3 million.
Indecopi’s president Julián Palacín said the spill affected the entire population of the area, as they were unable to make use of and enjoy the natural surroundings.
“This legal action could generate jurisprudence at national and international level in oil spill issues,” Palacín said, according to an Indecopi press release, detailing that the spill affected persons living within 150km of the contaminated coastline.
Indecopi added that, according to OEFA, 25 beaches located between Callao and Huaral are still affected by the oil spill, which is evidence that Repsol has not carried out a cleanup operation, despite the Spanish company’s claims to the contrary.
Repsol is also under investigation for a failure to comply with administrative measures concerning La Pampilla refinery.