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The Government is moving forward with the divestment of the Petroleum Company of Jamaica (PETCOM).

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Philip Paulwell, in his Budget Debate presentation on April 24, said that an enterprise team headed by Chairman of Petrojam, Erwin Jones, has been established to handle the process.

He informed that a valuation of the company’s assets is currently being undertaken and “we will announce more as information becomes available.”

TheMinister encouraged local investors to be prepared to take up the offer.

“Petcom has been a strategic asset in the petroleum marketing sector in Jamaica, and we hope that it will remain a strong player in the mar­ket. Again, I encourage local inves­tors to participate in the ownership of this important Jamaican asset,” he stated.

Turning to another matter, Minister Paulwell informed that effective June 24, low-sulphur fuel will be available to motorists.

He said Petrojam has now completed the appropriate infrastructure work to accommodate the fuel, and since last month, has been conducting consultations with industry players.

“Two Petcom stations – Petcom Dunrobin in St Andrew, and Portmore Parkway in St Catherine – have been prepared for the arrival of this fuel and will immediately begin selling it to the motoring public when it becomes available,” Minister Paulwell told the House.

He noted that low-sulphur diesel is a cleaner option and is better for vehicles and the environment.

“We are again leading the Caribbean as we did with the phasing out of leaded fuel and the re­placement of MTBE as an additive with ethanol,” he stated.

Regarding ethanol production, the Minister informed that operation of the dehydration plant at Petrojam Ethanol (PEL) has re-started.

“Last December, PEL entered a toll processing agreement with Lansing Ethanol Services, under which ethanol processed at the PEL dehy­dration plant serves to supply the local market for gasoline blending, in addition to supplying volumes for export to the USA and other countries,” he informed.

The Minister said it is expected that the profits for this year will amount to $109 million.

By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter