Petrojam could face closure - Paulwell
Opposition spokesman on Energy Phillip Paulwell has sounded a note of caution that extended delays in the upgrading and expansion of the Petrojam oil refinery could see the entity facing an uncertain future.
"In two years' time, more than 400 megawatts of capacity that is fuelled by either heavy fuel oil or diesel will be lost to Petrojam. I see the closure of Petrojam staring us starkly in the face if something is not done now," Paulwell said while responding to a statement yesterday from his government counterpart in Gordon House, Dr Andrew Wheatley.
Paulwell said that the Jamaican economy currently saved US$150 million owing to Petrojam's role in supplying fuel to the local market. He said that if the planned upgrade and expansion project took place, the refinery could save the country more than US$400 million.
"I believe that the Government is not moving with diligence to ensure that Petrojam is preserved to continue to contribute to the economy," said Paulwell.
According to the shadow spokesman on energy, Petrojam is going to lose its market for heavy fuel oil and diesel that it now sells to the Jamaica Public Service.
In response, Wheatley said that the refinery upgrade project was critical to ensuring that "we safeguard the country's energy security and to maintain the viability of the entity". He disclosed that Petrojam was currently negotiating with a Chinese entity to install a vacuum distillation unit, which is the first phase in the upgrading of the Petrojam refinery.