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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 91 - Monday February 26, 2007
Venezuela to Build Oil Refinery in Dominica
Dominican.net Editorial


Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt has announced his government’s intention to accept an offer by the Venezuelan government for the building of an oil refinery on the island.

Skeritt made the announcement during the recent visit to Dominica by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. According to energy minister Reginald Austrie, the proposed facility would be able to process up to 10,000 barrels a day and have enough capacity for Dominica to also export refined oil.

Venezuela will provide the US$ 80 million needed to build the facility as well as make available the crude oil required for refining.

"The refinery will satisfy internal demand and produce a surplus for exportation from the island," Rodolfo Sanz, foreign vice minister for the Latin America and the Caribbean, was quoted as saying. Dominica consumes just about 1 000 barrels of oil a day and last year imported about EC $ 55 million in petroleum products.

Since the announcement of the building of the refinery there has been heated debate among Dominicans on the wisdom of building such a facility. Most however people point to the fact that such a refinery will produce much needed jobs, help ease Dominica’s import burden and contribute to the country’s economic development.

Others, including several environmentalists have said that the plan is flawed and that it has the potential for ruining Dominica’s reputation as the Nature Island of the Caribbean. President of the Caribbean Conservation Association Athie Martin called on government to reject the offer and instead ask the Venezuelans to help Dominica develop its sustainable energy potential.

Venezuela, responding to recent environmental concerns that have cropped up in Dominica about the refinery, said its state oil company has conducted studies showing that there will be no environmental impact.

For its part, the government of Dominica insists that the refinery will be built in such a way so as to safeguard the environment and limit the potential for accidents.

It is not clear when construction will begin, but in the meantime, the government of Dominica has installed petroleum storage facilities in Jimmit, which under the terms of the Petro Caribe Agreement will be used for meeting Dominica’s consumption needs and possible re-export to other Caribbean countries.

More than half the countries in the world have oil refineries including 30 European countries, 15 in Africa, 10 in the Middle East, 14 in both Asia and Latin America and 7 in the Caribbean. There are also refineries in 32 of the 50 states in the US.

The largest oil refinery in the US is situated in Baytown Texas and produces 562, 500 barrels a day while the smallest is situated in Nevada with a capacity of 2 000 barrels a day.

In 2004, the Dominica government dropped plans for the building of a 2.4 billion dollar oil refinery on prime agriculture land in Castle Bruce after the promoters failed to meet certain deadlines. Read more on failed project

Editor’s Note: A barrel of oil is equivalent to 42 gallons and 7.33 barrels constitute one metric ton (US).

Comments about this article? Email:
editor@
thedominican.net
Telephone:
1-703-861-9411
Fax:
1-202-589-7937

Volume No. 1 Issue No. 94
Chavez visits Dominica
History of Zouk
Carnival Fire
My wayward friend
The greenest island



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