LIMA Feb 21 Peru may bar Enagas SA
from bidding on a new contract for a natural gas pipeline
because the Spanish company had worked on the project as
scandal-plagued Brazilian builder Odebrecht's junior partner,
the energy and mines minister said on Tuesday.
Odebrecht, at the center of a growing graft scandal, lost
the $5 billion pipeline project last month after missing a
financing deadline on worries about corruption.
Odebrecht owned 55 percent of the project, Enagas 25 percent
and Peruvian construction group Grana y Montero
In an interview with local broadcaster RPP, Gonzalo Tamayo
said the government was evaluating whether to exclude Enagas or
Grana from a new tender for the pipeline project that would be
held within nine months.
"In the case of Enagas they have a limitation because they
were the operators of the natural gas pipeline," Tamayo said
when asked if Enagas or Grana would be able to submit bids.
"We've commissioned legal briefs to tell us specifically if the
companies you mentioned should have a limitation or not."
Enagas said it was focused on terminating the pipeline
concession and might later consider taking part in a new bid "as
long as the government of Peru thinks it would be correct."
Odebrecht and Enagas had won the right to build and operate
the pipeline in 2014 during the previous government after their
sole competitor was disqualified the day of the auction. Grana
joined the consortium in 2015.
Prosecutors in Peru have been investigating the pipeline bid
and are in talks with Odebrecht on who took part in $29 million
in bribes the company has acknowledged distributing to secure
public work projects in Peru between about 2005 and 2014.
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has said that he
wants the new pipeline contract to have a smaller pricetag.
Odebrecht has been barred from bidding on any future
contract in Peru.
(Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)