The government will be unable to nationalize Petrojam should Venezuela not agree to sell back its 49-percent stake in the State-owned oil refinery.

Energy Minister, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, in answering questions at yesterday’s sitting of Parliament’s Standing Finance Committee, says the government is unable to take unilateral action on this matter.

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Jamaica’s oil refinery is partly owned by the Venezuela Oil Company, PDVSA. An executive order by US President Donald Trump prevents US entities from engaging in transactions involving the Venezuelan government. This has been hampering Petrojam’s ability to do business on the international market.

The Energy Minister says the previous Joint Venture Agreement with PDVSA in 2006 was weak. He says this has led to several difficulties including getting the company to undertake the promised upgrade of the Petrojam refinery.

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Dr. Wheatley says the government will be able to explore several options to upgrade the refinery should it re-acquire the shares.