ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- An agreement in principle between the American oil company Valero and the Chinese state-owned company Petrochina for the sale of Valero’s oil refinery on Aruba has reportedly been reached, subject to Beijing’s approval.
Aruban Premier Mike Eman announced the agreement in principle following discussions with Valero executives late last week.
The premier described the agreement between Valero and Petrochina as “phase one” of the sale process. The second phase is the approval of the agreement and the final decision to take over the refinery from Valero. This approval could take some time, said Minister of Finance, Utilities, Communication and Energy, Mike de Meza.
“Generally speaking, it takes over one year to sell a large refinery such as the one on Aruba. It’s a time-consuming process,” de Meza said.
Nevertheless, both Eman and de Meza hope to receive a positive answer from Beijing within several weeks.
The ministers think it’s a good sign that, in a letter to Valero, Petrochina requested that the workers continue to be employed until the refinery has been taken over. Eman endorsed this request in his discussions with Valero.
“After all, it affects almost 600 persons, who often have a specialised function and who won’t easily find similar employment elsewhere,” Eman said.
The premier also emphasised that these employees should stay on when the refinery is taken over.