Barbados hunting new suppliers following closure of Petrotrin refinery
Barbados says it is holding discussions with a number of suppliers to replace the energy arrangements it had with oil refinery Petrotrin.
The refinery, based in Trinidad & Tobago, is locking down operations, a measure it blamed on increasing financial losses. The closure has led to the retrenchment of more than 1,700 employees.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Barbados National Oil Company Limited, BNOCL, said it currently imports gasolene from and sells its crude oil to Petrotrin, while diesel and fuel oil are sourced extra-regionally. It said kerosene is imported by the oil companies Sol and Rubis.
BNOCL said that at the time of the Petrotrin announcement regarding the closure of the refinery, it was exporting 260,000 barrels of crude oil annually to the Trinidad refinery and importing 60,000 barrels of gasolene on a monthly basis.
It said the annual contract with Petrotrin entailed the exchange of the crude oil for gasolene, which aided in the reduction of the foreign exchange cost, as the value of the crude offset the outlay for the gasolene.
BNOCL said its storage capacity for gasolene is 80,000 barrels. However, as of Wednesday, September 12, its gasolene stock was at 53,582 barrels, "which is enough inventory for 25 days".
The inventory is expected to rise to 38 days' supply, when Petrotrin delivers another 30,000 barrels of gasolene on Saturday, September 15.
BNOCL expects to receive its final shipment from Petron over the period September 24-28 of around 30,000 to 35,000 barrels.
Altogether, assuming the shipments arrive as scheduled, the oil company expects to have enough inventory to supply local needs to November 5, assuming a "usage rate of 2,000 barrels a day".
The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources said that through BNOCL, it has been in discussion with a number of suppliers with a view to employing a similar arrangement to that with Petrotrin.
"The goal is to ensure that this country has a consistent supply of gasolene at an affordable price, while securing a market for Barbados' crude oil. BNOCL has never had a stock-out of petroleum products and always has adequate inventory to service Barbados, and is ever mindful of the need to do so, particularly during the hurricane season," the ministry said.
The Mia Mottley-led government also sought to assure Barbadians that "despite the closure of the Petrotrin refinery, there will be no shortage of gasolene in Barbados", saying it was keeping on top of the situation.