The disappearing act of Plan B refinery Curaçao

The Multidisciplinary Project Team (MDPT) was installed by Decree on 29th November 2013 to be in charge of modernizing the oil refinery in Curaçao. This Decree also created a sub-committee to lead Plan B, the redevelopment of the area currently occupied by the refinery in case the refinery is shut down (terugval scenario t.b.v. een mogelijke sluiting van de rafinaderij en de socio-economische herontwikkeling van het gebied). In 2015 and 2016 the sub-committee presented its findings in Parliament. Noteworthy is that the head of this sub-committee was also the vice-Chairman of the MDPT.

The current administration has recently decided to dissolve the MDPT and put Refineria di Korsou (RdK), the owner of the refinery, in charge of looking for a new operator for the refinery. And just like that the redevelopment initiatives seem to have dissolved into thin air. There is simply no mention of it anymore. In any case it’s inconceivable that the RdK whose existence depends on finding a new operator should be trusted with looking for alternatives for the refinery.

Does this mean that the government is putting all its eggs in the modernization basket? Are we that certain that we will find an operator before the current lease with the Venezuelan state oil company PdVSA runs out? Or are we willing to extend the current lease with Venezuela until a new operator is found. And finally, shouldn’t the decision by now oil rich Guyana to freeze plans to invest in its own multibillion-dollar refinery be a writing on the wall for us?

For the sake of our future national development agenda, I sincerely hope that politicians and key players are not ignoring national interest for short-sighted gains. And, transparency goes a long way in these uncertain times.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Author: alexdavidrosaria

Alex Rosaria is from Curaçao. He has a MBA from University of Iowa. He was Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and United Nations Development Programme Officer in Africa and Central America. He is an independent consultant active in Asia and the Pacific.

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