PetroJam Denies Reports of Frustration with PDVSA

The General Manager of Petrojam, Winston Watson, is refuting a report in the international press, that Jamaican officials are frustrated with Venezuelan oil giant, PDVSA.

The report, published by Reuters News Agency, says unpaid debts and broken promises are making PDVSA an outcast in several Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, where it had been a guest of honor.

It quotes Watson saying that he was fed up with PDVSA’s foot-dragging on upgrading the Kingston refinery. But Watson says that’s not so.

PDVSA owns a 49-percent stake in Petrojam’s refinery in Kingston.

The refinery is to get a USD$1-billion upgrade.

But questions are being raised about whether this will happen, especially in light of Venezuela’s economic situation.

The Reuters article quotes Petrojam General Manager Winston Watson as saying that if PDVSA says no to the upgrade, Jamaica would have to seek another investor.

The comment was made before a Parliamentary committee in late September.

Watson says he was responding to a question about the length of time the process was taking.

Watson says the impression given that he’s frustrated with PDVSA’s foot-dragging is absolutely not true.

Additionally, Watson says Venezuela is not being asking to pay for the billion dollar upgrade.

Those funds are to be raised on the financial markets.

According to the Reuters article, business partners in Curacao, Bonaire, Jamaica and the Bahamas are turning away from PDVSA as debts pile up to tugboat operators, ship brokers, maritime agencies and terminal owners.

It says the state-run company’s crumbling finances are causing operational disruptions across the Caribbean.

In one incident, Curacao’s port authority reportedly barred a PDVSA ship from leaving its port until the company paid a large debt.

Despite the reports, Watson is expressing sympathy with Venezeula, and confidence Jamaica’s upgrade will happen.