Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Holness, Maduro sign pre-agreemement for Petrojam expansion

Published:Friday | January 27, 2017 | 1:51 AM
Holness

It appears the long-awaited expansion and modernisation of the Petrojam refinery in Kingston is now closer to reality.

The Jamaican government through Petrojam owns 51 per cent of the refinery while Venezuela owns 49 per cent.

This week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness signed a pre-agreement with Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro for the expansion of the Kingston-based refinery.

The Energy Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley and his Venezuelan counterpart are now expected to sign the actual contract, but it’s understood that they are still finalising some details.

Under the projected expansion, some US$1 billion will be spent to increase the capacity of the refinery to process 50,000 barrels of crude a day up from 35,000 barrels.

This means Petrojam will be able to process more gas, diesel and jet fuel to meet local demand.

It is also expected that the expansion will help to make the fuel-making process more environmentally efficient.

There are indications that the government will be going to the market to raise the capital for the US$1 billion project.

There has been uncertainty about the planned Petrojam expansion especially since Venezuela’s economic decline that worsened over the past two years.

Last night, The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre was not able to reach the Energy Minister Dr Wheatley and the managing director of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica Winston Watson declined to speak.