The Dominican Republic’s plans to build a refinery in an oil-rich corner of South America is vital to guaranteeing fast growth and energy security, Energy Minister Antonio Almonte said.
(Bloomberg) — The Dominican Republic’s plans to build a refinery in an oil-rich corner of South America is vital to guaranteeing fast growth and energy security, Energy Minister Antonio Almonte said.
The investment in Guyana clashes with the Dominican Republic’s green image, but Almonte said the country can still meet its goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050.
“If we want to sustain our economic growth, our general wellbeing and our overall economic competitiveness we need to be able to guarantee our energy supply,” Almonte said in a telephone interview.
The resource-poor Dominican Republic imports 80% of its fuel, while Exxon Mobil Corp.’s 2015 discovery of massive oil reserves off Guyana’s coast has made the tiny, remote nation the world’s newest oil power.
The Dominican Republic has been among the most successful economies in the Americas in recent years, spurred on by record-breaking tourism and foreign investment. Gross domestic product is expected to grow 4.2% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The Dominican Republic has doubled its wind and solar energy output since President Luis Abinader took office in 2020, and renewables now represent about 14% of the grid. That’s expected to rise to about a quarter over the next two years, as 17 new green energy projects come online.
“Before we can modernize the entirety of national production and have everything run on green energy, there’s still a road ahead for us,” he said. “We’re going to need gasoline, diesel, petroleum and natural gas for a long time.”
Read More: Dominican President Touts Banner Economic Year in Annual Address
Dominican and Guyanese technical teams are expected to present a report before the end of the year that will provide details about the scope and financing of the refinery. The Dominican government has said it aspires to hold a 51% stake.
Almonte said the refinery could also sell petrochemical products to the rest of the region.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.