JIS News

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, has said that with oil prices reaching astronomical levels and predicted to go even higher, inflation and economic growth in many developing countries would be impacted negatively.
Making his presentation in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 25, the Deputy Prime Minister said that Jamaica’s almost absolute dependence on imported oil means that there is no escaping the negative consequences.
“In this regard, in addition to certain measures we can take at the domestic level, such as energy conservation, we will also have to bolster our bilateral energy co-operation through increased collaboration and strategic relationships, in order to achieve some measure of security, diversification and affordability of energy sources,” Dr. Baugh said.
He explained that the country was already benefiting from collaboration with Venezuela, Brazil, Cuba and Nigeria. The most prominent of these relationships, he added, is the PetroCaribe Energy Co-operation Agreement with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. “This is an important preferential mechanism that shields the Jamaican economy from the full impact of high energy prices and the volatility in the world oil market,” the Minister said.
Dr. Baugh informed the House that the transfer of funds, valued at US$63.7 million, completing PDV Caribe acquisition of 49 per cent of the equity shareholding in the Petrojam refinery, took place in late February this year.
“In the case of Brazil, we are engaging in an ongoing co-operation programme in the area of renewable energy, particularly in the development of biofuels. Brazil’s support for our sugar and ethanol industry remains strong with assistance provided for the implementation of capacity building projects in ethanol production,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
He explained that another development in the effort to diversify energy sources and to expand Jamaica’s exploration opportunities concerns the possible exploration for hydrocarbon resources in the Joint Regime Area shared by Columbia and Jamaica.
“The Ministry facilitated discussions which commenced earlier this year between officials and the experts of both countries regarding exploration for oil and gas in the Joint Regime Area. We look forward to resuming talks in the near future with a view to finalizing an agreement in the near future,” Dr. Baugh said.