Caracas, February 17, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela and Jamaica reached a much awaited deal to upgrade their jointly owned Kingston refinery at a ministerial meeting in Caracas on Wednesday.
Signed by Venezuelan Oil Minister Nelson Martinez and Jamaican Minister for Science, Energy and Technology Andrew Wheatley, the agreement will increase the refinery’s output from 36,000 barrels per day (BPD) to 50,000.
“We’ll be able to fully satisfy all our domestic demand and have additional supplies to export to other Caribbean countries,” Minister Wheatley told Jamaica’s the Observer Online.
The deal was signed under the aegis of Petrocaribe, founded in 2005 by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to provide oil to Caribbean countries under preferential terms. The upgrade is expected to cost between US$850 million to US$1 billion and will be carried out by Chinese state engineering and construction company Sinohydro.
According to Minister Martinez, the deal represents the Venezuelan government’s commitment to “strengthening Petrocaribe, a bond of union between brother peoples in our region”.
Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA bought a 49 per cent stake in the Kingston refinery in 2008, when the upgrade was originally agreed upon but never carried out due to financial issues. The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica owns the remaining 51 per cent of the project.