Honduras Joins Petrocaribe

Honduras' membership in Petrocaribe was made formal in the Fourth Petrocaribe Summit held last Friday in the Cuban province of Cienguefos, reported People's Power Minister of Energy and Petroleum Rafael Ramirez, on leaving the third meeting of Petrocaribe's Ministerial Council last Thursday at Jagua Hotel, in Cienfuegos.

The minister noted that other states are willing to join the organization. "This is an asset of this initiative, which shows institutionalization and smooth operation." He confirmed the attendance of 16 heads of member states.

He reported that during the meeting, the progress made by Petrocaribe was reviewed. "The Treaty on Reliable Energy Supply executed in August during the Third Petrocaribe's Summit held in Caracas is being fully enforced."

Only 53,000 bpd of oil and byproducts out of 102,000 bpd set forth in the agreement are being delivered because of the expansion works in progress for standalone storage in each country. This amount does not include the supply of 92,000 bpd of Venezuelan oil to Cuba under the Caracas Energy Agreement. In the aggregate, Venezuela provides the Caribbean with 145,000 bpd of oil.

In terms of infrastructure, he mentioned the Cienfuegos refinery, which would restart operations on Friday following an investment of USD 166 million. He explained that this is part of Petrocaribe's logistics. Since there, byproducts will be supplied to Central America. Also, a gas cylinders filling station in Saint Vincent and joint venture Transalba would start operations. Transalba has chartered ships already to engage in direct delivery.

Petrocaribe has supplied 43 million bpd of oil and byproducts to the Caribbean region so far. "We talked about increasing the scope to make an impact on the electric power supply. We talked about energy-effectiveness projects and special programs to utilize wind and solar power in the Caribbean."

He noted the related strides in some countries. "Jamaica has already a wind farm. Cuba is building one, and Venezuela is developing a 100 MW wind farm in Paraguana Peninsula."

Another item in the agenda was the presentation of a work to carry compressed gas and liquefied gas through pipelines to Petrocaribe's member states. As a result, taskforces were organized to assess investment costs and outline the infrastructure.

Minister Ramirez reported that the Alba Caribe Fund has allocated USD 99 million for multiple social projects. "Under Petrocaribe, progress will be made in the energy field, but also in the social field, as a centerpiece of this cooperation initiative."

"The world oil market is marked with tremendous unbalances due to a distorted world economy." On the one hand, Minister Ramirez exemplified, all of the Eastern Caribbean countries consume no more than 10,000 bpd of oil. On the other hand, daily consumption in neighboring United States amounts to 20 million bpd of oil and byproducts. "Such unbalances alter prices and the possibility to access energy resources."

"We, as an oil producer which does no relinquish the right to a fair value but are aware of the world unbalance, have taken such initiative to help relieve the energy burden and help also to change the consumption habits in our and foreign countries."