Peru’s government has reshuffled the board of state-owned oil company Petroperu, replacing chairman Hector Reyes Cruz following an oil spill.
Pedro Touzett, an engineer, was named as Reyes’ replacement after Energy and Mines Minister Eleodoro Mayorga announced plans for the reorganization earlier this week.
Touzett served as the ministry’s hydrocarbons director in 2003 and as a Petroperu director from 1997 to 2000.
The board also voted to replace Vice Chairman Luis Baba Nakao and one of the directors, Jorge Luis Parodi Quesada. Their replacements are Gina Vega de Leon and Carlos Wendorff Montenegro, respectively.
A newspaper article last Sunday revealed that Petroperu had hired minors to assist in cleaning up the spill, which occurred on June 30 in the Amazon town of Cuninico.
The corroded pipeline that ruptured “has already been repaired” and “the problem now is the clean-up of the area of the spill, which was not a direct spill into the rivers, to complete it as quickly as possible,” Mayorga said.
The alleged use of minors in the clean-up effort is being investigated because “companies subcontract local labor and sometimes they don’t meet all the safety requirements,” he added.
Petroperu said the pipeline was back in service on July 12 and that, despite the complaints of residents of local communities, the spilled crude did not reach the Cuninico and Marañon rivers.
The company could be fined if it is found to have violated environmental regulations or hired minors for the clean-up effort, the environment and labor ministries say.