Peter Howard Wertheim
RIO DE JANEIRO, June 5 -- Ten Latin American countries led by Mexico and Colombia agreed to build a refinery as large as 350,000 b/d in Central America designed to ensure energy supplies at preferential prices.
The leaders of Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and seven Central American countries were present at the launching of the Mesoamerican Energy Integration Program, which aims to invest at least $7 billion in the facility.
Mexico has offered to supply 230,000 b/d of oil at market prices to the refinery by the planned completion year of 2011, according to Mexico's Deputy Energy Minister Hector Moreira.
The proposed refinery is part of an ambitious energy development initiative that also includes pipeline transportation of natural gas along the Pacific Coast. The $7-9 billion program would provide outlets for oil and gas. It could clash with plans by the Venezuelan government to supply the region.
"We are going to sell at market prices. In no way will we subsidize the refinery," Moreira said.
Central American presidents planned to in the Dominican Republic to discuss the refinery's location and size.