Venezuela said Sunday that no plans are being considered to require more money up front from poor Caribbean and Central American nations buying oil on preferential terms under its Petrocaribe programme.
The secretariat of the Venezuelan oil pact said in a statement that any changes made to the deal’s terms would be ?to the benefit of member countries.?
State oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA released the statement days after Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding said he hoped Venezuela would scale back a proposal to require more money up front.
The Petrocaribe secretariat said officials never considered changing ?the terms of the time of payment? or increasing ?the percentage of the bill that is paid in cash.?
Venezuela and Caribbean nations launched Petrocaribe in June 2005 as global oil prices skyrocketed and smaller countries were struggling to buy enough fuel to keep their economies afloat. The plan promotes Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s vision of regional independence from the United States and has expanded to 18 nations.
The Petrocaribe pact requires members to pay 60 per cent of the oil’s cost and finance the rest at 1 per cent interest over 25 years. The percentage changes as oil prices vary, meaning member nations would make just a 50 per cent down payment if oil prices rebounded to $80 a barrel.
The Petrocaribe secretariat said leaders of member countries analysed the accord at their summit in June seeking options for ?maximizing their benefits.?
?The options under study aim to separate the obligations of payment in cash from the price of oil through the establishment of a single rate,? it said, adding that would protect countries from volatile price swings and ?reduce the percentage of the amount to pay in cash below what the current accord contemplates at current prices.?
It did not give further specifics.