Petrojam Review Commission to submit recommendations shortly

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Petrojam Review Commission will shortly submit recommendations to the Government regarding the State refinery's operations.

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, said that the recommendations are based on a technical analysis of the facility.

They will, among other things, address changes in the international fuel regulatory regime, which take effect in 2020, and the Jamaica Public Service Company's (JPS) fuel mix for electricity generation.

She was speaking at a press conference at Jamaica House yesterday.

Johnson Smith noted that under the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) regulations “Petrojam will not be permitted to refine and sell heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the way that it currently produces it”.

The regulations, which place a cap on sulphur content in marine fuel oil, are aimed at curbing emissions from ships.

Additionally, the minister said Petrojam has to prepare for changes in the JPS's fuel mix, “which were signalled… three… four years ago” and will now take place “in a few months”. The JPS accounts for approximately 50 per cent of Petrojam's market.

Johnson Smith emphasised that issues surrounding these matters require decisions to be taken regarding the refinery's future, particularly its upgrade “which was determined 10… 12 years ago to be of fundamental importance to its ability to adjust to such market changes”.

“Such decisions are being considered by the Petrojam Review Commission, appointed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness. They have retained (an international consultant) to support them in their technical analysis, and will report and provide recommendations in a few months,” she pointed out.

The review commission was set up in the wake of developments regarding the management of the refinery, and is among interventions to ensure that the entity remains viable, thereby safeguarding jobs and Jamaica's energy security.

Emphasising Petrojam's key role in national development, she noted that “it is the sole refinery in Jamaica and the principal provider of fuel to the domestic market”.

“If Petrojam were unable to purchase oil to sell the relevant types of fuel… the entire economy would topple. The uninterrupted production of goods and services is critical to the attainment of our economic development agenda… [and] critical to the well-being of our people,” Johnson Smith added.

— JIS


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