(Trinidad Guardian) Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie on Monday said Venezuela’s PetroCaribe initiative, which supplied oil to some countries in the region at discounted prices, was unlikely to be sustainable. Speaking in his capacity as acting Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs at the launch of Caricom Energy Week on Monday at the Hyatt, he said: “The Venezuelan PetroCaribe Initiative provided a partial and temporary solution for this but this solution is unlikely to be sustainable.
“The issue of subsidised prices has been raised but in today’s world, with every country having its own challenges and the global system in a state of uncertainty, that is not really feasible.” PetroCaribe is an alliance of mainly Caribbean and Central American countries with Venezuela to purchase crude oil at discounted and deferred prices.
The payment system allows for purchase of oil on market value for five per cent to 50 per cent up front with a grace period of one to two years; the remainder can be paid through a 17-25 year financing agreement with one per cent interest if oil prices are above US$40 per barrel.
PetroCaribe member countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, S. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Suriname and Venezuela.
Tewarie said one possible solution to high oil prices for small Caribbean islands was international financing options offered to purchase natural gas from T&T. “But the practicality of this is that a mutually satisfactory solution will have been found in the short to medium term for all countries, and given this new comfort level, alternative energy solutions can be vigorously pursued thereafter,” he said.