Released : Saturday, June 28, 2008 7:51 AM
Havana, Jun 28 (EFE).- Cuba will increase its capacity for refining
crude by close to 30,000 barrels per day with the expansion of the
Santiago de Cuba refinery being carried out by the authorities of the
island and of Venezuela, the country that is financing the project.
Cuba's Foreign Investment Minister Marta Lomas said Friday on state
television that the goal is to "get the Santiago refinery processing
50,000 barrels per day, more than double its current capacity, and make
it capable of processing higher quality products."
According to government officials, the refinery in Cuba's second largest
city, located on the eastern end of the island, currently has a refining
capacity of some 22,000 barrels per day.
Also among the works planned for that province will be a cement factory
which, according to the minister, "will be the basis for the development
of all the other new works in the eastern provinces."
Lomas did not specify when the Santiago refinery will start producing
50,000 bpd which, added to the 70,000 processed by the Cienfuegos
refinery in the central part of the country will increase Cuba's crude
processing capacity to more than 120,000 bpd.
The Cienfuegos refinery was reinaugurated last December after being
resuscitated in 2005 through a joint venture of the state-run oil
companies CUPET of Cuba and Venezuela's PDVSA, with an estimated
investment of $1.4 billion and the eventual goal of increasing its
capacity to 150,000 bpd by 2013.
The reopening took place during the 4th Petrocaribe Summit in the
presence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the then-provisional
president of Cuba, Gen. Raul Castro, the official head of state since
last Feb. 24.
Chavez and Castro at that time signed an accord to expand the Hermanos
Diaz Refinery in Santiago, as well as to develop the petrochemical
industry in eastern Cuba and to reactivate the Matanzas-Santiago oil