JIS News

Government will be undertaking a multi-billion dollar upgrading of the state-owned Petrojam oil refinery in Kingston, which will expand the facility’s capacity.Energy, Mining and Telecommunications Minister, Clive Mullings told JIS News that the undertaking, which is estimated to cost some US$500 million is expected to commence shortly, and be completed by 2013.
Mr. Mullings, whose Ministry has portfolio responsibility for the facility, said that currently, the “front end engineering design is in progress, (and) we are far down the road with that”, adding that the government is in the process of putting together the financing package to facilitate the commencement of work.
“It (financing) is critical in terms of the engineers who are required, and getting the equipment together. We have a timeline that we are trying to meet, of 2012/13. So within that time (we hope) to have it (upgraded refinery) rolled out and moving,” Mr. Mullings outlined.
The accounting firm, Ernst and Young, he disclosed, are currently putting together a financial package for the venture. Additionally, he said the designs are being developed, collaboratively, by local and Canadian-based engineers. The Minister said that on completion, the upgraded refinery would be able to process 50,000 barrels of oil daily, up from its current capacity of 30,000, and secure more finished products from each barrel.
“We will (also) be able to source cheaper sulpher crude and process it (sulpher) out, so that we can get cheaper crude. We will also be able to produce petcoke, which we can use for electricity generation to bring down the cost of energy considerably, because petcoke is, in fact, cheaper than coal,” the Minister explained. The Jamaica Public Service Company, he informed, was on board with the venture, adding that the light and power company had a generating facility which would “make the most” of the petcoke that would be produced. “It (petcoke production) will also allow us to provide an additional 100 megawatts of electricity to the energy grid,” he advised.
Mr. Mullings said the venture, when completed, is expected to position the refinery, and by extension, Jamaica, as a viable option for processing petroleum products in the region.

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