Depending on calculations, Belize is closing in on the 11th anniversary of formally joining the Petrocaribe energy union arranged by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which happened on June 29th, 2005; and the 10th anniversary of the formation of Belize Petroleum and Energy Limited, now a minority partner in the joint-venture Alba Petrocaribe Belize Energy Limited, which is on June 28th, 2006.Either way, the last four years have been a boon for Petrocaribe energy sales and investments in Belize, though some have begun to crow that the money retained for social projects has run out. At an anniversary celebration held at its offices in Belize City, APBEL deputy director John Mencias shared plans for how the company will get into the retail fuel market:
Mr. John Mencias, Deputy Chairman APBEL
“It is not so much only about the profits. The idea is that the profits are to be invested in Belize. For that reason APBEL has been carefully scoping out what areas and opportunities exist in the economy for us to invest in and you will soon hear that we are entering the retail sector. Our plan is to start up a number of state of the art gas stations. Pedivesa sells to APBEL, APBEL sells to PUMA and PUMA distributes into the market. We are now going to be participating in the retail market and PUMA will now sell us. It’s not as sinister as it sounds it is very straight forward.”
APBEL made more than 5 million Belize dollars in 2015 and is already close to 3 million Belize dollars in profits in 2016 after a slow start to the re-start of the program in 2012. This year’s figure, Mencias said, surpasses the entire output from 2006 to 2009 when Venezuelan refined fuels commanded a much smaller share of the market.