Businessman pushes for city to set up used oil refinery

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By Devina Samaroo

A local businessman is hoping that the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown accept his proposal to establish a used oil refinery which can create major employment opportunities, generate significant revenues for the municipality and save the environment.

The proposal was submitted by Ron Persaud, a local businessman and councillor at City Hall.

Persaud told News Room during an interview Wednesday that a mini-refinery could cost at minimum US$475,000 to set up and would have tremendous benefits for the entire country.

“The way it is being done internationally is that there is a user fee on every gallon of oil that comes into the country and that fee means a collection fee for the oil. So if we collect the oil, we get that fee as revenue. We collect the oil, take it to the refinery, the finished product is sold and there is another income stream from that. In the process, we create employment and clean up the environment,” Persaud explained.

The businessman noted too that persons across the country can benefit from employment opportunities if the facility is established.

“Let’s say we want to take oil from lower east coast as MMA. There’d be a contractor who would collect that oil and bring it to us. We will pay that contractor so it means it creates employment not just in the city, it helps the environment, it brings in money and everybody benefits,” he expressed.

A used oil refinery converts waste oil to hydraulic fluid which can be used in mechanisms such as the Demerara Harbour Bridge and kokers.

Oil recycling also aids in the preservation of the environment by lessening the likelihood of used oil being dumped on land and in waterways. Some sources for used oil are workshops, gas stations and even the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc.

Persaud is extremely hopeful that the M&CC approves the project and ensures it comes to fruition.

“Before we go forward, we have to know that amount of fluids and lubricants that are coming in. The (Guyana Energy Agency) will give us that information. Then we have to pass it by the environmental people (Environmental Protection Agency) and our Solid Waste Director and then we can put it together. We will also have to have consultation with other stakeholders such as all the entities that use a lot of oil,” he explained.

Persaud said, being a businessman for 40 years, he has no interest in pursuing new ventures and therefore decided it would be in the better interest of the entire country if he made the proposal for the M&CC to take up.

Late last year, Tobago approved the establishment of a similar facility and construction of the plant is planned for this year.

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