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JIS News

Delegates from across the region are steadily pouring in for the historic PetroCaribe Summit being held at the Ritz-Carlton, Montego Bay, from September 3-6, 2005.
Over thirty delegates from Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago have already arrived including two heads of delegation, the Prime Minister of Guyana, the Hon. Samuel Hinds and Montserratian Chief Minister, the Hon. John Osborne.
Technical talks are proceeding between the various countries and Venezuela.
It is expected that some 200 delegates will arrive in the island’s second city for the three-day summit that is to end with the signing of bi-lateral agreements between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the countries of the region. Today, officials and ministers of energy are meeting to discuss, among other matters, the establishment of a PetroCaribe Secretariat for the management of the initiative, as well as a proposed energy research facility for the Caribbean. A series of presentations on renewable energy sources are also being made by energy ministers.
PetroCaribe seeks to contribute to regional energy security while promoting social and economic development. Through PetroCaribe, Venezuela will sell participating Caribbean countries oil under preferential payment conditions as well as facilitate endeavors in exploration, refining and distribution of the raw material while supporting the development of renewable energy sources. The Agreement comes at a time when oil prices are at a record high and pose a serious threat to the small vulnerable economies.
Before PetroCaribe, regional trading arrangements with Venezuela were governed primarily by the San Jose Agreement and the Caracas Energy Cooperation Agreement.
Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Hon. P. J. Patterson described the PetroCaribe initiative as “revolutionary.” He said that the initiative “vividly demonstrates that there is an inherent advantage in uniting around a common vision, unifying objective and a mutually beneficial set of goals for the region.”
An important aspect of the bi-lateral agreement signed between Jamaica and Venezuela will see the two countries partnering to upgrading the Petrojam Refinery. Commencing 2006, the upgrade will be carried out in two phases, the first of which will involve the expansion of the crude unit, as well as the replacement of the vacuum and visbreaker units at a total cost of US$200 million. A delayed coker will be installed in the second phase at a cost of US$300 million.
The refinery upgrade will be managed by a joint venture company to be established by PDVSA Caribe and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).