Frequently Asked Questions

Crude Oil/Refining Process

Type Country
Maya Mexico
Olmeca Mexico
Isthmus Mexico
Mesa Venezuela
Leona Venezuela
Lago Treco Venezuela
Oriente Ecuador

The traditional industry unit measure for petroleum volumes is a Barrel (bbl).
1 BBL = 42 US Gallons = 34.9726 Imperial Gallon = 158.987 Litres.

There are several factors which influenced the location of the refinery. These include:

  • Location in an Industrial Zone, which minimizes risk to surrounding communities and the environment;
  • Proximity to sea provides:
    • Accessibility to ocean going vessels for receiving crude oil and finished products, as well as from pipelines located under the sea.
    • An abundant supply of seawater for fire fighting.
    • Easy dispersal of waste gases in a seaward direction due to prevailing wind direction.
    • Underground supply of well water for cooling and boiler feed water. (National Water Commission sources provide additional “make-up” water, when necessary).

Refining begins with the separation of crude oil into different fractions by distillation. The fractions are further treated and processed to convert them into mixtures of more useful saleable products by various methods such as cracking, reforming, alkalization, polymerization and isomerization. These mixtures of new compounds are then separated using methods such as fractionation and solvent extraction.

Petrojam is a hydro-skimming refinery

This describes a refining process in which different petroleum fractions are merely separated out of the crude oil distillation and no significant additional conversion of the fractions into other compounds is done. At Petrojam, the only secondary conversion process undertaken is the conversion of naptha (the gasoline fraction), into a high-octane grade compound.

Hydroskimming - The refinery process

  • LPG/Cooking gas – used for heating, cooking, making plastics.
  • Naphthasol – used as a cleaning solvent.
  • Gasoline – 87 and 90 Octane grades of petrol for the transportation sector.
  • Jet fuel/Kerosene – fuel for jet engines, other aircraft and equipment including domestic lighting.
  • Automobile Diesel Oil/Gas Oil – used in diesel engine vehicles and to operate generators.
  • Heavy Fuel Oil – used for industrial operations such as power generation and marine transportation.
  • Asphalt – used for road construction.

The Octane Number is a measure of the resistance of a fuel to detonation (“knock”) when burned in an internal combustion engine. The higher the Octane Number, the more effective the anti-knock quality of the gasoline. A high percentage of vehicles in Jamaica require 87 Octane gas.

Petrojam’s ex-refinery pricing policy is based on the concept of import parity. Since deregulation of the petroleum market, refined petroleum products are priced to cost no more than the price an importer would pay to purchase finished products overseas and land them in Jamaica.

Regional gasoline prices are indexed to the current US Gulf Reference prices. To these prices are added freight and insurance, and the cost for storage and handling.

No. Petrojam supplies approximately 54% of Jamaica’s annual 26 million barrel petroleum requirements. The bauxite companies import approximately 35% for their operations and the remaining 11% is imported directly by the multinational marketing companies for the transportation sector.

Crude oil occurs naturally in the ground and is a complex mixture of organic liquids, formed millions of years ago. Crude oil varies from oilfield to oilfield in color and composition, from pale yellow, low viscosity fluid to heavy black “treacle” consistencies. Of little use in its natural  state, the value of crude oil lies in its bi-products including fuels, lubricating oils, waxes, asphalt and petrochemicals.
 
Crude oil contains a mixture of hydrocarbon compounds and relatively small quantities of other materials such as oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, salt and water.

Crude oil is sourced mainly from Mexico, Venezuela and Ecuador.

Access to Information (ATI)

Identify the document you wish to have access to and the government body most likely to have it.

Write/phone in/email or fax your request giving as much information as possible about the document in order to help the Officer assigned for those purposes to quickly retrieve it.

Include contact information which will allow the Officer responsible for ATI applications to remain in contact with you. This will assist the Officer in obtaining clarifications from you and enable the observance of the timeline (30 days from receipt of Application) prescribed for finding and granting access as the case may be.

  • Inform you in writing that it has so received it.
  • Deal with the Application as quickly as possible and inform you of any difficulties being experienced. This will help both parties in possibly coming to a mutual workable understanding, particularly if the request is a complex one (eg. large volume of documents requested) or where it will take longer than the prescribed time allowed within which to find the document.
  • Inform you within 30 days of receipt of the Application whether or not the information will be disclosed and grant access or inform you of your rights of appeal as the case may be.

Fees are payable for the reproduction of documents only.
 

Format Cost
Photocopy $10.00 per page
Transcript $60.00 per page
Computer print out $10.00 per page
Photographs  
Black and White
  • 5" x 7"
  • 8" x 10"
  • 11" x 14"
  • 16" x 20"

Colour

  • 5" x 7"
  • 8" x 10"
  • 11" x 14"
  • 16" x 20"
--
  • $400.00
  • $500.00
  • $1,000.00
  • $2,000.00

--

  • $300.00
  • $400.00
  • $2,000.00
  • $3,000.00
Audio cassette $300.00 per cassette
Video cassette $500.00 per cassette
Diskette $20.00 per diskette
Compact disc $35.00 per disc
Paper to Braille $60.00 per Braille page
Diskette to Braille $40.00 per Braille page
Microfilm duplication (35mm) $1,500.00 per roll of 100ft microfilm; minimum order of 10ft at a cost of $150.00
Microfilm duplication (16mm) $380.00 per roll of 100ft microfilm; minimum order of 10ft at a cost of $38.00
Microfilm print out $20.00 per page

 

Generally, in the form in which you request it – you may be allowed to view, listen to, inspect or be given a copy of the document. However, access may be given in a form other than that which you have requested if there is a need to preserve the document or its physical state makes the form of access requested inappropriate.

Yes, provided they have been or are being used by the government body for an administrative purpose.

You apply by letter or on the prescribed application form. You may also phone in, email or fax your request.

  1. You have a right of Appeal with respect to:
    • refusal of a grant of access
    • the grant of access to only some of the documents requested
    • deferral of the grant of access
    • refusal to amend or annotate a personal record
    • the charging of, or amount of a fee
  2. You must make your Appeal in writing.
  3. You may request either an Internal Review of a decision that you regard as unfavourable, or you may Appeal to the Appeal Tribunal if a decision has already been made at Internal Review or where Internal Review is not applicable.
  4. You must utilise the Internal Review Process (where applicable) before an appeal may be made to the Appeals Tribunal
  5. Internal Review will not be applicable if the original decision on the Application for access to information was made by the Permanent Secretary or Principal Officer, or the Responsible Minister or where no decision on the original application was made.

Under the Act, a Government employee commits an offence if: he alters or defaces, blocks or erases, destroys or conceals an official document to which the public has a right of access, with the intention of preventing its disclosure.

A fine of a maximum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00) or six (6) months imprisonment or both are applicable.

The ATI Act gives you the legal right to see official documents held by Government Bodies. You may also ask for personal information to be changed if it is incomplete, misleading, out of date, or incorrect.

Official Documents are documents in the possession, custody or control of a government body and which are connected to its functions.

No. There are documents which are exempt from disclosure under the Act. These are documents which it is believed should not be disclosed in order to protect essential public interests or the private/business affairs of others. Similar statutes internationally recognize these concerns as well and make similar provisions.

Some exempt documents are however subject to public interest tests. Release of exempt documents may also be achieved through an Order of the Minister responsible for Information or after the expiration of 20 years after their creation, or such shorter or longer period as the Minister may specify by Order.

Documents pertaining to:

  • Security, defense, international relations; (S. 14 (a))
  • The Cabinet; (S. 15)
  • Law enforcement; (S. 16)
  • Legal privilege (S. 17)
  • The national economy (S. 18)
  • Government’s deliberative processes; (S. 19)
  • Business affairs of others (trade secrets, etc.) (S. 20)
  • Personal privacy (S. 22)
  • Heritage sites (S. 21)

E 10 Gasoline

E10 gasoline is a mixture of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline blendstock. Ethanol is an alcohol and is added as an octane enhancer to the gasoline. Ethanol is used in a similar manner that Lead and MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) were previously used.

Petrojam makes E10 gasoline to meet the standards outlined in the Petroleum Quality Control Act. E10 gasoline produced at Petrojam is blended using ratio blending, which acts as an excellent control of the blend quality. The product is tested and certified by our Petroleum Laboratory and further spot checked by Petrojam personnel as it leaves the loading rack via tank truck.

The Ministry of Energy and the Jamaica Bureau of Standards also conduct inspections of service stations to ensure product quality. The level of inspections has increased in the past year and stations will receive certificates indicating they meet the requirement of the Petroleum Quality Control Act. It is advisable to only buy from certified stations.

Petrojam will produce E10 gasoline in the 87 and 90 Octane grades, which were the octane grades previously made. It is important to note the recommended octane number of your motor vehicle and not to use a lesser grade than recommended. Using a lesser grade will cause engine knocking and eventually damage over time.

Research has shown that 87 and 90 octane gasolines are the two most acceptable levels for the Jamaican market.

Yes you can.

Petrojam conducted several activities prior to the introduction of E10 gasoline to ensure that the fuel is suitable for use in the motor vehicle population in Jamaica. Activities included :

  • A Pilot study
  • Study of the Jamaican Motor vehicle population
  • Consultations with international standards setting bodies
  • Consultations with other countries using E10 and higher blend levels
  • Obtaining endorsement of E10 gasoline from the Jamaica Bureau of Standards training of Gas Station Operators and marketing company in handling of E10 gasoline
  • Sensitization and training of tanker drivers in the handling of E10
  • Acceptance by other marketing companies (other than Petrojam)
  • E10 Gasoline (90 and 87) has been accepted and endorsed by Marketing Companies, the Jamaica Auto Dealers and Used Car Dealers Association

We note that there is reluctance on the part of some industry players to accept E10 gasoline mainly due to lack of knowledge of the product. During our study one of the major dealers in Jamaica noted reluctance to accept E10, however, they awaited the results of out pilot study (which was also being undertaken in other countries) and have subsequently endorsed E10 gasoline.

Lack of endorsement from a manufacturer’s manual does not mean that the vehicle cannot use E10 gasoline. This perspective had arisen mainly because they have not done any test themselves (the manufacturer).

While there is concern about the impact of alcohol blended gasoline on some motor vehicle engines; it is not expected that there will be any negative impact when 10% alcohol is used

Water and dirt must be kept out of ALL Gasoline products. However, E10 gasoline is more severely affected by dirt and water than the leaded or unleaded gasoline which we have been using for the past 15 years. Ethanol is water soluble and therefore may separate from the blend if excessive moisture is present. Excessive water will reduce the octane of the fuel and may cause engine knock.

Petrojam has taken an additional step in blending E10 gasoline by introducing an anticorrosion agent, thereby, reducing the corrosive effect that gasoline may have on a car’s engine. During normal operation of gas stations there maybe accumulation of condensate water in underground storage, however, this is not considered enough to cause phase separation.

Gas station operators have specific methodologies for testing for water in their tanks. The custody chain for gasoline involves petroleum terminal, tanker drivers and petrol stations. It is necessary for proper stewardship to be exercised at all levels of this chain to prevent water contamination.

Ethanol also acts as a solvent and can mobilize pre existing scales and other fuel deposits in the fuel system. If a vehicle is not properly maintained prior to using E10 the ‘dirt’ in the engine may be flushed into the fuel system. Gas filters (which will accumulate the muck) should be changed prior to using E10 for the first time.

It is a common belief that older cars (pre-1980’s) may have a problem using E10 gasoline and even unleaded (MTBE) fuel. The components of the car which may come into contact with gasoline fuel system (hoses, seals, O-rings, membranes and gaskets), would have already been changed maybe several times in a motor car of this age (25-30yrs).

All gasoline in Jamaica contains a dye. If the gasoline spills on your car or any other surface, it should be washed off as soon as possible to prevent staining. E10 87 is green in colour and E10 90 is yellow in colour.

E10 gasoline is not a new product to the world and is being used in many countries. The gasoline octane enhancer (MTBE) is being phased out worldwide due to its harmful effects on the environment. Ethanol is now the octane enhancer being utilized.

As with all previous blends of gasoline return to the gas station from which the gasoline originated as the first point of contact. The gas may be contaminated with water and hence has reduced octane. Ask the gas station operator to check for water contamination or dirt.

The Refinery and the Environment

This is called a flare. The flare allows excess gases that would otherwise build up high, uncontrollable pressure in the system to be burned. The flare is a safety feature, which burns continuously while the refinery is in operation.

  • Noise pollution from operating the plant
  • Possibility of Oil Spills from trucks, ships, pipelines and from the processing plant and tank leaks.
  • Fugitive gaseous emissions from valves, flanges, tanks and process vessel vents.
  • Gas emissions
  • Potential fires due to the presence of highly combustible materials
  • Contamination from sulphur oxides, nitrous oxides and ash emissions from burning HFO/fuel gas in boilers and furnaces.
  • Possibility of hydrogen sulphide emissions, a by-product of hydro-treating which is burnt at the flare.
  • Water pollution by waste water from the process or ground water pollution from leaks and spills.
  • Disposal of municipal waste scrap metal from maintenance, used chemical containers and spent catalyst.