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Wheatly says gov't still awaiting Venezuela's response on Petrojam offer

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley, says Jamaica is still awaiting a response from Venezuela to the government's offer to repurchase its 49 per cent share in the local oil refinery, Petrojam.

“We have made an offer to the government of Venezuela to repurchase PDVSA's (Petróleos de Venezuela) 49 per cent stake in Petrojam and we are still awaiting a response to that offer,” Wheatley said.

He said Jamaica is a critical juncture in its energy security and, therefore, he was reminding the House that while Jamaica is appreciative of the support in the past from the government and people of Venezuela through the PetroCaribe Agreement.

“But, I must remind this House, that it is imperative form our own energy security, as a country, that we repurchase PDVSA's 49 per cent stake,” he insisted.

In a statement to the House of Representatives on April 24, Wheatley had informed the members that, despite Venezuela's promise to send a technical team, in short order, to meet with Jamaican counterparts to continue the discussions and to arrive at a resolution, but that to date; they have yet to meet this obligation.

He said the lack of the appreciation on the part of the Government of Venezuela now and over the last ten years, of the importance of this matter to Jamaica, is of concern to the Government.

Reacting to issues raised by the Opposition spokesman on mining and energy, Phillip Paulwell, last week in the same debate, Wheatley stated that the price of electricity in Jamaica is the lowest anywhere in the region.

“And I am not just making reference to the Caribbean, but also the Latin American region and even the United States, the price is so competitive at 8.54 US cents per kilowatt hour. That is now the new benchmark,” the minister noted.

“So when we go back to the marker this year, looking for some 150-200 megawatts of renewable energy, one needs to take into consideration that bench mark that was established last year,” he added.

Balford Henry

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