Interest in a Central America refinery progresses

Mexico's Ministry of Energy said four international companies have expressed interest in constructing a refinery in Central America under terms of the Mezo-American Energy Integration Program.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, July 17 -- Mexico's Ministry of Energy said four international companies have expressed interest in constructing a refinery in Central America under terms of the Mezo-American Energy Integration Program (PIEM).

The ministry named the companies as Colombia's state-owned oil company Ecopetrol; Itochu Corp. of Japan, Reliance Industries Ltd. of India; and US company Valero Energy Corp.—all four of which have been preselected by PIEM.

Benefits offered by the bidding include an 8-year buy-sale contract of Mexican oil, plus bank credits from Inter-American Development Bank and Central American Economic Integration Bank.

Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama have ratified the PIEM, which will allow the investor to build a refinery in their countries.

PIEM, which first met in December 2005, aims to complete four tasks: to build a refinery in a Central American nation, create a "spine" of electricity links among the PIEM nations, harmonize energy regulation across the region, and promote the use of sustainable and renewable energy.

PIEM nations include Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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