Thursday 19 September, 2019

Venezuelan delegation to visit Jamaica to continue talks on Petrojam

Energy Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley has revealed that a team from Venezuela is expected in the island in the coming days to continue talks on the proposal for Jamaica to repurchase Venezuela’s 49 per cent shareholding in Petrojam Limited.

Venezuela owns 49 per cent of Petrojam through the state-owned PDV Caribe, a subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

Wheatley, who was addressing the House of Representatives on Tuesday, described the upcoming talks as “a commercially sensitive matter, the details of which cannot be disclosed publicly at this time.”

“We have been assured that the offer will be reviewed and considered by the Venezuelan Government, with a view to reverting to us shortly,” he said.

According to Wheatley, the necessary steps are being taken to safeguard the country’s assets, while ensuring energy security for the country.

He referred to his visit to Venezuela last Thursday when he was accompanied by Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith.

“This meeting was the culmination of several exchanges of correspondence between myself and my counterpart Minister with responsibility for petroleum in Venezuela. The principal purpose of our visit was to formally make an offer to PDV Caribe for its 49 per cent share holding in Petrojam Limited,” Wheatley said.

The Minister said the repurchase does not mean Jamaica will be abandoning PetroCaribe.

“During our discussions, we recognised and expressed our gratitude to the Venezuelans for affording us the benefits of the PetroCaribe agreement and we assured them that the repurchase of the 49 per cent shares in Petrojam was to ensure that we are in control of our energy security going forward and, more particularly, that we are able to undertake the necessary upgrade to our refinery,” he noted.

The Minister added that the negotiations are still ongoing and that the House and the nation will be provided with information as it becomes available.

The Government’s attempt to take full control of Petrojam comes after an Executive Order by US President, Donald Trump, last year, which imposes sanctions targeting the Government of Venezuela and its state-owned entities.

Dr Wheatley informed that since the announcement of the Executive Order, “the relationship between Petrojam Limited and PDVSA has come under intense scrutiny, both locally and internationally.”


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