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Gov't still awaiting Venezuela's response on Petrojam offer

Jamaica Observer 2018-05-17 11:02:16

MINISTER of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley says that Jamaica is still awaiting a response from Venezuela to the offer to repurchase its share in the local oil refinery, Petrojam.

“We have made an offer to the Government of Venezuela to repurchase PDVSA's (Petróleos de Venezuela) 49 per cent stake in Petrojam and we are still awaiting a response to that offer,” Dr Wheatley said.

He said that Jamaica is at a critical juncture in its energy security, and, therefore, he was reminding the House of Representatives that while Jamaica is appreciative of the support in the past from the Government and people of Venezuela through the PetroCaribe Agreement, “it is imperative for our own energy security, as a country, that we repurchase PDVSA's 49 per cent stake”.

In a statement to the House of Representatives on April 24, Dr Wheatley had informed the members that, despite Venezuela's promise to send a technical team in short order to meet with Jamaican counterparts to continue the discussions and to arrive at a resolution, to date, they have yet to meet this obligation.

He said that the lack of appreciation on the part of the Government of Venezuela, now and over the last 10 years, of the importance of this matter to Jamaica, is of concern to the Government.

Reacting to issues raised by the Opposition spokesman on mining and energy, Phillip Paulwell, in the same debate last week, Wheatley stated that the price of electricity in Jamaica is the lowest anywhere in the region.

“And I am not just making reference to the Caribbean, but also the Latin American region and even the United States. The price is so competitive at 8.54 US cents per kilowatt hour, that is now the new benchmark,” the minister noted.

“So when we go back to the market this year, looking for some 150-200 megawatts of renewable energy, one needs to take into consideration that benchmark that was established last year,” he added.

— Balford Henry