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A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to be signed between the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), at the Heads of Government energy meeting to be held at Puerto la Cruz in Venezuela tomorrow (Wednesday, June 29).
Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, accompanied by Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell leave the island today to participate in the signing. Other Caribbean Heads will also sign for their countries.
Making the announcement at yesterday’s (June 27) post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House in Kingston, Mr. Patterson told journalists that the initiative would encompass several facets.
These included the strengthening of the existing San Jose Accord and Caracas Agreement for providing crude oil and refined products at favourable credit terms, he said.
The Prime Minister said the initiative would be used to lower transportation costs and eliminate intermediaries by direct provision of transportation to island markets.
Mr. Patterson said the island’s existing refinery infrastructure as well as Trinidad and Tobago’s; the Dominican Republic’s and Cuba’s would be looked at to supplement Venezuela’s own system. This, he said would enable the provision of assistance for the revamping and upgrading of regional refineries.
He said under the agreement “there could be a joint distribution/marketing of petroleum products through a new commercial brand to be established, in an effort to deliver reduced prices to consumers in the region and enable security of supply to the regional market”.
The Prime Minister said it was expected that social benefits would also be accrued from the new arrangements in areas such as education, housing and health.
He said the opportunity would also be used to examine co-operation in oil exploration and the establishment and strengthening of the oil storage infrastructure regionally, specifically state owned facilities.
Meanwhile, where Jamaica’s efforts to establish an Energy Fund to implement its energy policy was concerned, the Prime Minister said it would be explored how money could be secured through the initiative to build the required capital for the Fund.
PetroCaribe is an initiative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, launched at a meeting of Energy Ministers in July 2004. It is intended to benefit the Caribbean region through lower energy costs as well as the development of supply infrastructure, joint refining and co-ordination of hydrocarbon supply and distribution. PetroCaribe is a component of Venezuela’s overall PetroAmerican concept, which targets the larger Latin American Region and includes PetroSur and PetroAndina.
Participating CARICOM countries are expected to agree with Venezuela on acceptable co-operation schemes that would return value to the Venezuelans for the support being provided under PetroCaribe. These include provisions for language training and tourism at different levels as well as sports development.