Saturday, December 08, 2007

Costa Rica and China to explore for oil

(Inside Costa Rica) - Costa Rica and China announced Friday they have agreed to jointly explore for oil and natural gas in the Costa Rica. It wasn't clear if the proposed exploration would be on land or offshore.

Roberto Dobles, environment and energy minister, told a news conference with representatives of China National Petroleum Corp., China's biggest oil and gas producer, that Costa Rica hopes to guarantee its access to energy, considering soaring crude prices.

"We have the responsibility to ensure the development of the country, always meeting strict environmental standards," he said.

The announcement was immediately criticized by environmentalists, who argued the exploration would pollute the environment, though Dobles said the agreement stipulated that any exploration be done in a way that protects the environment.

He added that it may be four to six years before the project gets started and that the exploration process in general is not as environmentally risky as other aspects of the petroleum industry.

Arias signed the exploration agreement during a visit to China last October.

Representatives from the two countries are expected to meet again in February in China to discuss the agreement further. It includes plans to modernize Costa Rica's oil refinery so it can become a regional hub.

Environmentalists successfully pressured former Costa Rican president Abel Pacheco (2002-2006), to cancel a 1998 concession for oil exploration Costa Rica had granted Houston-based Harken Energy Corporation. A lawsuit is before the courts.

No comments:

Related posts