A Brief History of Petro-Caribe in Belize: 2005-2009 The first shipment of Petro-Caribe oil arrived in Belize from Venezuela in early November, 2005 with no prior formal notic e to the Government of Belize: apparently as a good-will gesture on the part of Venezuela to signal its commitment to Petro-Caribe in Belize. It was delivered to the port in Belize City for offloading at the ESSO Depot. However, since no prior arrangements had been made with ESSO or any of the local petroleum distributors, the shipment was held up for four days before it could be offloaded. It was subsequently purchased at a significant discount by the Banana Enterprises Ltd, a subsidiary of the Big Creek Group of Companies, a company operating out of the Stann Creek District. As a consequence of ESSOs continued reluctance to receive any further shipments of Petro-Caribe oil, the Government was forced to seek out other alternatives to get Petro-Caribe going in Belize.

In June 2007, Government, through a spe cially-formed company, Belize Petroleum and Energy Limited (hereinafter, BPEL), signed a contract with Petro Fuel Belize Limited (hereinafter, PFBL), a subsidiary of the same Big Creek Group, to purchase refined petroleum products, lubricants and LPG (delivered under the Petro-Caribe Agreement) from BPEL for selling and distribution in the local market. PFBL would import the products through the port at Big Creek, which was also owned by a PFBLs parent company, the Big Creek Group, and would be responsible for all costs related to receipt, storage, distribution, marketing and retailing of the products.

The supply contract between BPEL and PFBL mirrored almost identically and was actually based on the supply contract between PDVSA and BPEL signed at the start of the program. Taken together, the contracts ensured that GOB would retain the full benefit of the concessionary long-term financing terms offered by Venezuela
while the full short-term financing benefits were passed on to PFBL.
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