The Governments of Jamaica and Venezuela have signed an agreement to execute the Petrojam Refinery Expansion Project which will cost approximately US$1billion.
Nicholás Maduro, President of the Republic of Venezuela, hailed the signing of the agreement in Caracas on Wednesday, February 15, 2017) as a most significant step in a long journey and one that would promote growth, development and partnership.
The Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley signed on behalf of the GoJ, while Group General Manager, Winston Watson, signed on behalf of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), which is a party to the joint venture agreement with Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA).
The expansion will increase Jamaica’s national oil refinery’s crude oil capacity from 36,000 barrels of oil per day (kBD) to 50 kBD. It will also involve the addition of enhancements to the Marcus Garvey Drive based plant including:
- a Desulphurization Facility to reduce the sulphur content in diesel;
- a Delayed Coker to produce higher quality products such as gasoline and jet fuel, and
- a Vacuum Tower to produce vacuum gas oil.
The project will be executed by SINOHYDRO Corporation Limited who will undertake financing, engineering, procurement and construction. The implementing entity representing the Government of Jamaica (GoJ), while PDVSA will represent the Government of Venezuela.
The next steps will involve the establishment of a task force comprised of five representatives from either country, within the next month. The team will have responsibility for finalising contractual arrangements with SINOHYDRO for project execution.
Minister Wheatley commented that, “the upgrading of Jamaica’s oil refinery was the bedrock of our joint venture partnership with the Government of Venezuela. It is pivotal to securing energy for growth and economic development, and we are looking forward to the ground-breaking and eventual commissioning of the new facility”.
Dr. Wheatley added, “This is an important milestone after a lengthy period of groundwork and we will now be moving expeditiously to iron out the final arrangements to make this upgrade a reality; so now, the real work begins.”
Witnesses to the signing included, among others: H.E. Sharon Weber, Jamaica’s Ambassador to Venezuela; Hillary Alexander, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology; Mr Floyd Grindley, General Manager of Petrojam Limited and the Charge d’Affaires of Venezuela, Mrs. Luisa Gutierrez.