Energy Minister Daryl Vaz says Jamaica’s oil supply chain is not in jeopardy amid concerns about possible disruptions due to economic sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
He gave the assurance while providing an update on energy security and oil prices during a recent meeting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives.
“I want to categorically state to the people of Jamaica that we have storage capacity both in Jamaica and outside of Jamaica, which is more than adequate for the island.”
Furthermore, he said, “We are well secure in terms of our fuel arrangements,” noting that the country has three to four weeks’ reserve supply of finished product and six weeks of crude.
“This situation is being actively monitored and our supply chain is not in jeopardy,” he stressed.
Minister Vaz informed that Jamaica currently sources both crude oil and finished product from Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, and Barbados.
“In the case of Barbados, we do about 60,000 barrels every two months. All of these are based on fixed contracts, some yearly and some shorter,” he noted.
Minister Vaz told the House that funds are available to make the necessary purchases.
“What we… cannot predict, obviously, are prices, but based on the contracts that we have, supply is there and based on funds available to purchase… we do have that as a country. There is no need to panic as it relates to our supply and we will be [monitoring] the prices as things and time unfold,” he said.
Minister Vaz said the fact that there may be some dislocation in relation to supply from Russia, is an opportunity for others to ramp up to be able to meet that shortfall.
He is urging Jamaicans to practice energy conservation. “We have always talked about conservation, but we really have not practiced it, and maybe this unfortunate situation is really a wake-up call for each and every one of us to take that responsibility into our own hands to be able to conserve and use less fuel,” he said.
Meanwhile, reporting on the outcome of the fourth Nigeria-Jamaica Joint Commission from February 22 to 24, Minister Vaz said that the main item of discussion at the meeting was the finalizing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on oil and gas cooperation.
He said that the MOU covers crude oil supply arrangements with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, including oil and gas exploration and technical support in optimizing local refinery operations, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Nigeria.
He noted that the MOU is timely and shows that other alternatives are being explored.
A delegation from Petrosa attended the meeting, which was held in Abuja, Nigeria.
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Edited by Jesus Chan
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