Peru's Congress has passed a bill that allows the government to sell an up to 49 percent stake in state oil refiner Petroleos del Peru S.A. to private investors.
The legislation also cleared the way for the modernization of Petroperu's aging refinery in the northern town of Talara, a project that Congress said would "ensure air quality and public health."
Petroperu will finance $2.7 billion of the $3.5 billion cost of the refinery, according to the studies presented.
Energy and Mines Minister Jorge Merino told reporters last week that the refinery-modernization project would "increase refining capacity from 65,000 barrels to 95,000 barrels" per day.
Responding to criticism from opposition lawmakers, Merino said the pending stake sale was "not a privatization."
"The state is not losing control of the company. It will maintain 51 percent of the shares ... While the country has grown at a pace of 6 percent, the energy sector has (expanded) at 8 percent. It's important to maintain the energy matrix," Merino told a local radio station.
The minister added that the plan will give Petroperu "a corporate governance with international standards, with a long-term business plan, and lend transparency to its operation." EFE