SAN JUAN – The Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne was set Wednesday to sign an agreement giving the government 100 percent ownership of West Indies Oil Company Limited, known as WIOC.
Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin and Foreign Minister Charles Fernandez accompanied Browne to London to complete the transaction.
“We will complete the purchase of WIOC and the government and people will own 100 percent of WIOC. That also includes approximately 280 acres of land,” Browne said.
“We have engineered this deal in such a way that we would not have incurred one dollar in debt or spent one dollar in acquiring WIOC,” he added.
Founded in 1961, WIOC was purchased in 1976 by the government of Antigua and Barbuda, which four years later sold 75 percent of the company to National Petroleum.
Once the government regains full control, the plan calls for immediately selling 49 percent of WIOC.
“Prime Minister Browne a few months ago secured the backing of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who will own 25 percent of the shares in the company and a Chinese investor who will own 24 percent of the shares,” the government said.
Currently, WIOC facilities operate only as a terminal for oil products with capacity for storing up to 322,000 barrels.