Costa Rica May Get Some New Visitors From China!
Typically not known for its oil resources, Costa Rica is aiming to tap its natural reserves through an oil refinery that will cost around $1.5 billion. Chinese President Xi Jinping, recently announced that his country will provide $900 million line of credit to Costa Rica to finance the expansion as well as the remodeling of an oil refinery along the Caribbean Coast.
Costa Rica’s relationship to China is rare for a Central American country—it is the only one in the region to have such a relationship to the communist country. Nine cooperation agreements in total amounted to $1.5 billion to provide resources to improve roads, public transit fleets, solar panels, and more.
The oil refinery in Puerto Limon is small and needs a lot of remodeling, and gives 18,000 barrels of imported crude oil a day. This is a mutually beneficial process for Costa Rica too because President Laura Chinchilla says that she will make the visa process more flexible to allow more Chinese tourists to enter the country, which would be a potentially lucrative move. Currently the number of Chinese visitors to Costa Rica is small, and the country is aiming to reverse this.
China has also been desperately seeking alternative forms of energy, and has purchased many projects overseas with the hopes of importing more barrels of crude oil to fill their growing fuel needs.
The irony here is that Costa Rica has always been green destination, promoting eco conservancy, and the move towards an oil pipeline could mar their image. But time will tell if this venture moves the country towards profitability, and preserves what Costa Rica has stood for all these years.