Wednesday 26 February, 2020

Dom Rep also moving to take back Venezuela shares in refinery

Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro

As the Jamaican government continues with a legislative action against Venezuela regarding the latter’s 49 per cent stake in the island’s only oil refinery, a similar situation is playing out in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Today news site reported that the Dominican government has initiated negotiations to buy the 49 per cent stake held by PDV Caribe, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s State-owned PDVSA, in the Dominican Petroleum Refinery (Refidomsa PDV).

PDV Caribe has reportedly yet to agree to sell its stake and, "if the Venezuelan company doesn’t agree to the sale, the Dominican State would be forced into litigation declaring the country’s only refinery eminent domain and a matter of national security", Refidomsa PDV CEO Felix Jimenez is reported to have said.

Jimenez reportedly does not expect the process - initiated last December - to be affected by Santo Domingo’s decision not to recognize the legitimacy of Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro.

It is a similar situation to what is happening in Kingston, which also failed to recognise the legitimacy of Maduro’s second term as president.

Last week, Jamaica's Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith announced that the government will be moving to enact legislation to allow it to take ownership of the 49 per cent stake in Petrojam that is held by Venezuelan state-owned oil company, PDVSA, through PDV Caribe.

The move by the Jamaican government has been met with disfavour from the Opposition, whose spokesman on energy, Phillip Paulwell called it “particularly premature” given the pending issuance of the Zacca Committee report on the Petrojam refinery, scheduled for May 2019.

Government has characterised the ownership of the refinery as a national security as well as energy security issue. 
Foreign Affairs minister Kamina Johnson-Smith says the buyout was inevitable, given the prevailing regional political realities.

“We had made several representations to the Venezuelan government prior to the imposition of sanctions. At this point in time, with the decision to not recognise the current regime, the Government has to make a considered decision with respect to the refinery and the urgent need to modernise the plant,” she said.

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