(Adds background and comment on companies interested in oil block)
By Teresa Cespedes
LIMA, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Peru’s state-owned energy company Petroperu plans to sell $600 million in bonds next year to pay for upgrades at its flagship refinery Talara, the company’s president said on Wednesday.
James Atkins added in a news conference with foreign media that the issuance would take place in New York.
Petroperu, which mainly processes and commercializes oil products, has been working on $5 billion in upgrades aimed at modernizing Talara and expanding its production capacity.
Last year, Petroperu sold $2 billion in 30-year corporate bonds backed by the Peruvian government, and said demand had surpassed $10 billion.
Peru is a relatively small oil producer. The country produced about 50,000 barrels per day in April, the last month for which data was available from state energy agency Perupetro.
Atkins said several companies have expressed interest in operating Peru’s largest oil block, Block 192, once Frontera Energy Corp’s current contract ends in September 2019.
The companies include Spanish energy company Cepsa, Argentina’s Pluspetrol and Algerian state firm Sonatrach. Frontera is also interested in signing a new contract for Block 192 with Petroperu.
Block 192 is located in the Peruvian Amazon and its production has been disrupted in recent years due to repeated spills from a Petroperu-operated pipeline, which transports crude to Talara on the Pacific coast, and protests by native communities. (Reporting By Teresa Cespedes, Writing By Mitra Taj; Editing by David Gregorio)