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Oil prices will rise again, Biden warns Caribbean

Published:Monday | May 16, 2016 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris

United States (US) Vice-President Joe Biden has warned regional leaders that volatile oil prices will return. On this basis, he is urging them to use every opportunity to explore clean and alternative energy sources to bolster the prosperity of the Caribbean and Central America.

"This is a moment of opportunity to turn that progress into sustainable energy security that will endure when volatile oil prices return. And they will return," Biden cautioned the heads of government during the US-Caribbean-Central American Energy Summit in Washington, DC, held earlier this month.

"The good news is that we're at a nexus for transforming, with transformative opportunities here. Low oil prices mean more money this day is available for investment in new energy infrastructure," said Biden.

"It's equivalent to US$1 billion of stimulus just in the region [and] lower energy prices. Our abundance of natural gas provides a critical, clear transition fuel as we're moving towards adopting renewable technologies."

Biden said strengthening energy security was among the focus areas for himself and US President Barack Obama.

He noted that North America - Mexico, the US and Canada - is the epicentre of energy production in the world and pointed out that his country recently inaugurated a liquefied natural gas export terminal that has just sent its first cargo of gas to Latin America.

The US had also announced a deal to export natural gas to Jamaica during last year's staging of the Summit.

"Here's the truth. We want you to be energy secure so more people across this region can - your region can start businesses, connect to the Internet, generate opportunities, attract foreign investment, grow, grow. The more you grow, the more you prosper, the better off my country is. And it strengthens our security, as well as yours. And it opens up new opportunities for shared economic growth," he said.