This, in response to an article published in this Diarywhere we point out that the investment in said infrastructure work “already exceeds US$6.5 billion”.

LOOK: Government forms working group to evaluate new rescue of Petro-Perú

We are talking, to be more exact, about a “total investment amount” of US$6,530.1 millionwhich was recorded by the state oil company in a document presented days ago to the Minister council.

This amount includes pre-operational interests by US$991.79 millionwhich, according to Petro-Perú, are not part “of the integral investment amount of the project”.

Is this approach correct?

Arturo Vásquez, economist and former vice minister of Energy, consider not. This, he explains, because the total inversion (Total Capex) In a standard infrastructure project it consists of two components: the gross capital investmentthat “It is calculated by adding the value of all the capital goods necessary for its construction” (machinery, buildings, land), and the financial expenses (if any).

Such is the case of the pre-operational interests “which are paid on loans used to finance corrections or additions to a project, before it begins production”Vásquez points out.

The Peruvian State decided to build the new Talara refinery almost entirely with debt. This has generated financial expenses (pre-operational interest) that are added to the Capex of the project. (Photo: USI)

Therefore, in the case of the new Talara refinery, the total capital expenditure or total Capex has to include the gross investment in capital (US$5,538 million) and the pre-operating interests (US$991.79 million), all time they are part of the expense incurred for having done the work“, indicates the specialist.

This results, he adds, in a total investment of US$6.53 billionwhich “may increase because we do not know for sure if the refinery is operating at 100% and other problems will not occur”.

Why should the comprehensive investment amount in the new refinery consider pre-operating interests (financial expenses)?

INVESTMENT DECISION

The reason, says a source familiar with the subject, lies in the way in which it was decided to finance the project, that is, “with debt, instead of with own resources.”

This means that if Petro-Perú had financed the construction of its new refinery with own resources I capital contributions of the State, would have avoided incurring financial expenses and “I would have had zero debt”.

On the contrary, the State chose to finance the work with almost absolute loans from third parties (in this case, from the bondholders and the CESCE).

In September 2023, the head of Economy and Finance, Alex Contreras, indicated that there was no room to capitalize Petroperú.  These days he must decide whether the MEF will come to the rescue of the state company, for the third time in the last two years.  (Photo. MEF)

In September 2023, the head of Economy and Finance, Alex Contreras, indicated that there was no room to capitalize Petroperú. These days he must decide whether the MEF will come to the rescue of the state company, for the third time in the last two years. (Photo. MEF)

As a result, Petro-Perú incurred financial expenses close to US$1 billion during the ten years it took to build the mega-work (it began in 2024).

Here the logical rule applies that says that ‘the accessory follows the fate of the main’. This means that since the refinery is financed 95% with debt, the purchase of the equipment will be accompanied by the interest derived from said purchases.”says the source consulted.

In the end, she notes, the matter could also be seen as Petro-Perú points out. The question we should ask ourselves, rather, is: Was the decision to make an investment of that magnitude (US$6,530 million or US$5,538 million) practically at the expense of debt a good one?



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