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Jamaica won't forsake Venezuela while exploring clean energy

KINGSTON, April 12, 2015 - Despite efforts by the United States to wean the Jamaican Government from the use of Venezuelan Oil to Natural Gas, Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell says Jamaica will be deepening its relationship with Venezuela while shifting its focus to clean energy.

Following this week's visit by United States President Barack Obama, Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell outlined a timeline on some of  the energy projects that slated to receive US assistance.    

On Thursday a letter of  intent was signed between Jamaica and the US regarding energy security and cooperation.

The deal should assist Jamaica's plan to introduce clean energy.The projects are significant as they are expected to reduce the overall cost for electricity in Jamaica.

Paulwell stated that this process has started, and results will be revealed in the short term.

He said Jamaica, in seeking to improve its energy sources, will be shifting its focus from Venezuelan oil, to Natural Gas also from Venezuela. This is despite the Petrocaribe oil deal .

Under the Petrocaribe agreement, Venezuela offers subsidised fuel at favourable terms — often in exchange for payment in goods.

Paulwell notes that the long term plan is to expand and upgrade the refineries to process more of the products that are needed.

The Energy Minister also announced a move to increase the blend of ethanol and gasoline at the country's petrol pumps.

“Very soon we will have to look to see how much more we can add. Right now its ten percent of the fuel mix, our aim is to get it above twenty five percent…currently the enhancer that we use is ethanol, we currently import it. The aim is overtime is to get out sugarcane industry to supply the raw materials for it,” he said.

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