It is proposed as a joint venture between the Costa Rican Oil Refinery (RECOPE) and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

But the government owned watchdog, the Comptroller General’s Office, said the agreement is not feasible because it confronts RECOPE’s legal monopoly in oil refining and distribution, which can only be revised by a change in legislation.

Presidency Minister Rodrigo Arias, President Arias’ brother, articulated disappointment last week that the nation might squander an investment like this.

He said he intends on appealing to the Comptroller General’s Office in the hope that it will support the contract. He also said the proposed project would very much benefit the nation and the region of Limon.

According to Arias, the present refinery is old and operating with outdated equipment, making it impossible to process over 20,000 or 25,000 barrels per day. He’s hoping that with the renovation and expansion, that plant could pump 60,000 barrels each day.

The planned joint venture is only one of the projects resulting from Costa Rica’s newly set up diplomatic relationship with China. Another is the construction of a national stadium, which is being constructed in La Sabana Park, on San Jose’s western edge, with an $83 million contribution from China.