MANAGUA – President Daniel Ortega last weekend officially inaugurated the first of three new bunker oil plants purchased by Nicaragua with Venezuelan aid under the auspicious of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).
The $22 million “Comandante Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara” plant located in Tipitapa, 20 kilometers north of Managua, will generate 20 megawatts of energy, helping to alleviate the country’s energy situation. The second and third plants will be inaugurated in Masaya and Managua, for a combined total of 100 megawatts of power, providing Nicaragua with its first comfortable energy surplus in years (NT, June 6).
Ortega thanked Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez for helping Nicaragua out of its energy crisis through ALBANISA, a join oil venture between the two countries.
Under ALBANISA, Nicaraguan state oil company Petronic has become the majority oil importer in Nicaragua this year.
According to statistics from Francisco Aguirre, president of the National Assembly’s Economic and Budget Commission, Petronic this year is on schedule to import 60 percent of Nicaragua’s total oil imports for 2008, up from 17 percent in 2007.
Although not much is known about the inner workings of Nicaragua’s oil business with Venezuela, legal experts claim that Nicaragua cannot legally be acquiring any debt to Venezuela because according to the Constitution the state can only acquire debts if they are first approved by the National Assembly.