Since early 2015 Belize has stopped importing premium fuel through the Petrocaribe program at Venezuela’s request.According to Deputy Chairman John Mencias it has not much affected his company, which has actually made greater profits as a result. But there is a coming shortfall in regular gasoline for which Belize is preparing. Mencias tells us more:

Mr. John Mencias, Deputy Chairman APBEL

“We are hoping that Pedivesa will be able to continue providing the Regular Gasoline, Kerosene, Jet Fuel and Diesel. Unfortunately, we have been informed that there might be a fall in the supply of regular gasoline over the next 3 months. It will be somewhere around a 20% cutback. We have already informed PUMA and they have already made arrangements to fill in the short fall. However this is a temporary arrangement, not only PUMA but also the short fall. Pedivesa has ensured us that they will be able to comeback full steam by October.”

The problem is with a refinery in Curacao, which is also the source of the stoppage in premium fuel.In related news, after a dizzying fall in prices at the pump toward the end of last year, prices are edging back up again.Some blame the volatile world markets; others the Government of Belize for trying to gain more revenue. But in the case of Petrocaribe-sourced fuel, our financed portion of the funds is not tied to the crude oil price, but to refined prices, leading to more pain at the pump, as explained by Mencias:

Mr. John Mencias, Deputy Chairman APBEL

“The way how the Petrocaribe program is set up the finance portion is not tied up to Crude Oil prices. The prices are tied to the actual price of the final refined Petroleum products. For example when the price of Crude Oil had fallen to 28 dollars per barrel the price of diesel was about 40 dollars per barrel. Right now is has gone back up and we are up to $60-$70 dollars per barrel. We are seeing an increase at the pump as a result of that. So whenever you hear someone giving you the price of crude you need to add $10-$20 dollars on top of that to get a better sense of what the price of refined fuel will be.”