Costa Rica: oil refinery

Costa Rica’s legal watchdog has cleared a billion-dollar contract that the government signed with China to jointly build an oil refinery after it was held up in legal wrangling for months. The Comptroller’s Office reversed its own earlier ruling in March, when it said an agreement signed in 2008 for the Costa Rican Oil Refinery, or Recope, to form a joint venture with the China National Petroleum Corp., or CNPC, was invalid. The government of President Oscar Arias, which severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 2007 to open ties with China, signed an agreement for the joint venture during the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao. It wasn’t immediately clear under what circumstances the Comptroller’s Office reversed its earlier ruling, but in April the office said the project could proceed only if legislators changed the law. The agreement includes the creation of a joint venture bi-national company “in charge of developing and putting in operation the project to broaden the Moin refinery, to increase its production to 60,000bpd,” the Comptroller’s Office said. The refinery will be built in the town of Moin, on the Caribbean coast, and is expected to dramatically increase the country’s current refining capacity.
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