Government Determined to Modernise Petrojam – Energy Minister


Minister of Industry Technology, Energy and Commerce (MITEC), Phillip Paulwell, during a familiarization tour of the Petrojam refinery in Kingston yesterday (June 22), unveiled plans to transform the state-owned refinery into a more modern, efficient and profitable facility within the next three years.
“The Government is determined to modernise the refinery by a massive upgrade programme that will start very shortly, and at the same time we expect to expand the refinery from 30,000 barrels per day to 50,000 barrels per day,” he informed members of the media.
This project, which will cost approximately $500 million will be carried out as part of the government’s PetroCaribe arrangement with Venezuela.Mr. Paulwell pointed out that the plant will also start processing new fuels such as Petcoke, a fuel used for power generation, which will be sold to the Jamaica Public Service, resulting in cheaper electricity for consumers.
Expressing optimism about the future of the market for ethanol, Mr. Paulwell reported that Petrojam Ethanol Limited, which restarted ethanol production in 2004 after forming a corporate partnership with COIMEX of Brazil, now produces 40 million U.S. gallons per annum.
“This is an area where we believe there are tremendous opportunities for our country,” he said. The Minister said that apart from the fact that Jamaica is pursuing full implementation of replacing the current octane enhancer produced from petroleum, Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) with the more environmentally friendly ethanol based fuel (E-10) by 2008, “we also see the opportunities for export.”
“The US market is one that we are targeting and Jamaica intends to remain the lead country in the CBI for exporting ethanol to the United States of America,” he asserted, adding that two private sector companies have now accepted the challenge and are establishing ethanol refineries throughout Jamaica.
“We (Petrojam) are looking. to add another 60 million gallons very shortly, and we are hoping that this is going to enable our sugar cane industry to be revitalized, with ethanol being a major value added product in short order,” Mr. Paulwell said.
Since commissioning and up to March 2007, Petrojam Ethanol has shipped approximately 42 million gallon of anhydrous ethanol to the U.S.A. The Petrojam Ethanol Dehydration plant, which was refurbished in 2005, has the capacity to export 150 million litres of fuel grade ethanol annually to the United States.
Petrojam Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary company of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) operates Jamaica’s only refinery located on 76 acres at the Kingston Harbour.
The operation comprises the 36,000 barrels per day refinery, loading racks for Road Tanker Wagon distribution to retail outlets of the petroleum marketing companies and for delivery to the Jamaica Aircraft Refueling Services (JARS), a joint venture company of Petrojam.
The Refinery manufactures products from crude oil such as unleaded gasoline in two grades, 87 and 90 octane, liquid petroleum gas, kerosene and turbo fuels, auto diesel, heavy fuel oil, and asphalt. Petrojam also operates a 125,000 barrel storage terminal for finished products in Montego Bay.

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