Govt takes steps to protect Petrojam assets

by November 14th, 2017

Government has taken steps to protect its assets held in Petrojam, in light of an executive order from the United States which threatens the Petro-Caribe agreement with Venezuela.

Energy Minister, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, told parliament this afternoon (Nov 14), that Petrojam had raised concern about the Petrocaribe deal, as the US executive order has resulted in more stringent due diligence.

The government owns 51 % of the shares in Petrojam, while the remainder is owned by PDB Caribe South America, an affiliate of Petroleos de Venezuela.

Dr. Wheatley explains that the banking sector has become adverse to the stipulations in the executive order.

The Energy Minister says the issue caused delays in transactions relating to Venezuela, including loan repayments.

He says meetings were held with US officials in October, to outline the government’s concern about the executive order.

Dr. Wheatley states that the government emphasized that Petrojam is a public company, controlled by the Jamaican government and as such, is subject to Jamaican laws.

The delays in payments to and from Petrojam have caused unease among suppliers.

The minister says efforts are being made to prevent any disruption to Jamaica’s energy sector.

Meantime, Opposition Spokesman on Energy, Julian Robinson, sought clarification from the government, regarding the response to the impact of the US executive order on Venezuela.

The order has hampered aspects of PetroJam’s operations, and threatens Jamaica’s oil agreement under Petrocaribe.

Energy Minister Dr. Andrew Whealey, gave a statement in parliament today, outlining the government’s efforts to protect its assets.

Mr. Robinson asked about, among other things, the status of oil importation to Jamaica from Venezuela.

In response, Dr. Wheatley indicated that among the options being considered is the buy back of the 49 % shares in Petrojam, from PDB Caribe South America, an affiliate of Petroleos de Venezuela.