The Government of Antigua and Barbuda, GOAB, is now the majority shareholder in the West Indies Oil Company. The Gaston Browne administration executed the deal through a bridging loan, with which it purchased 100 per cent of the company’s shares from the previous owners for US$30M. The Government then divested 25% of those shares to Petroleum of Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) and 24% to Fancy Bridge Limited; a Hong-Kong based investment firm. The government utilized the proceeds of the divested shares to repay the bridging loan. The Government, and by extension the people of Antigua and Barbuda, have retained a controlling 51 per cent stake in the entity.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has outlined grandiose plans to transform WIOC into the leading petroleum storage and distribution company in the Eastern Caribbean and one of the most progressive in CARICOM. Senior government officials indicated they were proud of the decision to “ink this deal” for the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda.