Venezuela signs MOU for LNG supply to Jamaica

Curtis Williams
OGJ Correspondent

PORT OF SPAIN, Mar. 13 -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller have signed a memorandum of understanding for the South American country to supply LNG to Jamaica by 2009.

Chavez said his country would supply to Jamaica more than 2 million tonnes/year of LNG to be used in the Caribbean island's power and bauxite industries.

Phillip Paulwell, Jamaica's Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy, and Commerce, said details would be revealed later, along with details of other joint ventures Jamaica is pursuing with Venezuela.

The MOU was signed following a meeting in St. James where the two leaders held discussions on a raft of bilateral, trade, cultural, and economic issues before Chavez proceeded on to Haiti.

The agreement was signed 2 weeks after Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Patrick Manning indicated that his country does not have the gas for an additional LNG train and therefore could not supply Jamaica with LNG at concessionary terms as had been previously agreed.

Manning suggested that Jamaica approach Caracas for its gas because Venezuela has emerged as the Caribbean's dominant energy supplier. Manning said Trinidad and Tobago would process the gas at no profit.

With Jamaica benefiting from the PetroCaribe agreement and possible LNG, Chavez is also proposing to Caribbean nations that they come on board with Venezuela's ALBA Fund low-interest loans program, which is aimed at economic development for the region and Latin America (OGJ, July 18, 2005, p. 26).

Chavez's PetroCaribe program is designed to reduce the effects of high oil prices on energy-dependent Caribbean islands by offering them petroleum products at reduced costs or in trade for commodities such as bananas and sugar (OGJ Online, Sept. 15, 2004).

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