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Jamaica to launch US$500 million (euro336 million) upgrade of its lone oil refinery

Jamaica to launch US$500 million (euro336 million) upgrade of its lone oil refinery

Jamaica's top energy official announced plans for a major upgrade of the country's lone oil refinery on Tuesday, an expansion that would boost production for a refining market clamoring for supplies.
Energy Minister Clive Mullings said the planned expansion at the Petrojam refinery in the capital of Kingston would cost US$500 million (euro336 million) and would increase daily oil production by 20,000 barrels.
The refinery, built in 1963, provides all the petroleum for the Caribbean nation of less than 3 million inhabitants. It has a nominal capacity to refine 36,000 barrels of crude oil a day, but has grown inefficient because of its technology and age.
Mullings said that international accounting firm Ernst & Young is putting together a financial package as the Caribbean island's government seeks funding for the expansion. It hopes the improvements would be completed by 2013.
The majority of the Petrojam refinery is owned by the Jamaican government.
Last year, the Caribbean subsidiary of Venezuela's state oil company secured a 49 percent stake in the facility, which processes Venezuelan and Mexican crude into transportation and industrial products, including asphalt for road construction.
Mullings said petcoke, the waste product from oil refineries, could also be burned to generate electricity in Jamaica once the expansion is completed.
The expansion "would bring down the cost of energy considerably," Mulling said.