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Group Managing Director of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), Dr. Ruth Potopsingh, is urging Jamaicans to take full advantage of opportunities to learn more about energy.
“Participate and take full advantage of the opportunities presented through the seminar, to learn more about energy and what is happening today. Be a part of the Ministry of Energy and Mining’s thrust to engage the public in making Jamaica a better country through use of energy,” Dr Potopsingh suggested.
She was speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Thursday (July 16) about plans for the Association of Oil and Natural Gas Companies in Latin America and the Caribbean Region (ARPEL) general assembly and seminar. Over 20 member countries of the regional association are expected to participate in the event, which is being hosted by the PCJ at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Wednesday (July 22).
Dr. Potopsingh pointed out that it is open to persons involved in or interested in the petroleum industry, at no cost. She further described it as a forum through which Jamaica, and the rest of the region, can start analysing their energy agendas and present their perspectives and views to the world.
She said that issues related to the current economic crisis, poverty, climate change, global warming and food security will be addressed. She also added that these were particularly important for Jamaica, given its 90 per cent dependence on oil and the anticipated decline in world reserves over the next 20-30 years.
“This means we are compelled to increased action in alternative energy solutions such as wind, hydro and bio-fuels,” Dr. Potopsingh noted.
The meeting is timely, as Jamaica has now drafted its new energy policy, which will be moving from the White to Green Paper stage in Parliament.
“The seminar also allows us to address the energy environment within a regional context, looking at development, sustainability, technology, social and investment challenges and financing,” she added.
Primary objectives are to analyse challenges to new energy agendas in Latin America and the Caribbean, foster dialogue, exchange and consensus to advance a regional energy agenda.
Dr. Potopsingh outlined benefits that Jamaica has reaped over the years through its ARPEL membership, such as technical assistance, training and environmental management support, particularly in the area of the development of an oil spill contingency plan.
Another area of benefit has been in the development of 100 guidelines for operations in the oil industry, and a current energy audit in progress at PCJ subsidiaries.
Some 120 participants are expected at the general assembly and seminar, and the World Bank will be represented in discussions related to available financing in light of credit restrictions.