President Leonel Fernandez made a bid for hosting the seventh PetroCaribe Summit in 2008 when attending the event held last week in Cuba. The summit brings together countries that adhere to the preferential terms for purchasing petroleum from Venezuela. This year the event was held in Cuba. President Fernandez said that in 2006 the petroleum bill was US$2.8 billion, and in 2007 it is expected to reach US$3.3 billion, due to the increase in prices.
Fernandez spoke of how the rising cost of petroleum affects the generation of electricity in the country. “The blackouts that we have in the DR are not because we do not have enough installed capacity to produce power, but rather because the kilowatt/hour cost is so expensive that the government has to subsidize it,” he said. He said that while the country benefits from the PetroCaribe agreements, which permit the postponement of payments, it is seeking alternative ways to reduce the cost of fuel.