Sun | Jul 22, 2018

Petrojam to be upgraded as regional supplier of energy

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
Dr Andrew Wheatley (centre), minister of science, energy and technology, and Floyd Grindley (second right), general manager of Petrojam, chat with Edward Seaga and his wife, Carla, after unveiling the building now renamed the Edward Seaga Building at the Petrojam’s Corporate Office on Marcus Garvey Drive on Thursday.

The Government is moving to position the country's state-owned oil refinery as one of the most modern facilities of its kind in the region, declared Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who said that Petrojam Limited would be upgraded to supply the energy needs not just of Jamaica, but the wider Caribbean.

"The Government is doing everything possible, including making financial commitments towards upgrading the refinery," the prime minister said on Thursday, while speaking at a ceremony in Kingston to name Petrojam Limited's Corporate Office Building as the Edward Seaga Building.

At the same time, Holness asserted that his administration has taken a deliberate approach to diversifying the country's energy source by significantly increasing the usage of liquid natural gas, locally.

Renewable energy

Renewable forms of energy are also prominent on the Government's radar, with wind and solar earmarked to play a greater part in terms of the country's energy needs.

"We are now at approximately 18 per cent of our electricity needs being generated by renewables. I have given the minister a target of 30 per cent, and we are on track to being able to supply 30 per cent of our electricity using renewables," the prime minister disclosed.

Commenting on bio fuels, Holness said that former Prime Minister Edward Seaga had suggested in the 1990s that Jamaica could benefit from a plant called Lucaena, which he said could be fermented to produce methane gas.

"I am giving a direction to the minister that he should pay more attention to developing the bio fuel sector," Holness added.

Energy minister Dr Andrew Wheatley, in a Gleaner interview, said the Lucaena project, which was first advanced by Seaga, would be resuscitated by the current administration.

"We are looking to embark on a pilot project, so we are going to drive this initiative through the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica working with the NCST (National Commission on Science and Technology), because we want the policy decision to be data-driven," he said.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com