What is GreenTown?
GreenTown Curaçao is a lively green Caribbean waterfront city, run on sustainable energy, where thousands of people live and work. GreenTown is an alternative to the heavily polluting Isla oil refinery.
Will there still be enough gasoline for the cars on Curaçao if the refinery closes down?
Yes. It is possible to buy gasoline and other necessary fuels on the free market. In that case tankers would deliver gasoline to Curaçao. Neither Bonaire nor St. Martin has oil refineries yet gasoline is still cheap there. Luckily on Curacao we have enough storage tanks at Bullenbaai to stock up on gasoline.
If the refinery closes down won’t gasoline become much more expensive?
No. In fact, we wouldn’t have to rely on the Isla refinery but could use the free market to our advantage when buying gasoline. At the moment we are obligated to buy from the Isla refinery. Gasoline prices are the same here as they are on St. Martin, and they do not have a refinery. We can conclude that currently Curaçao does not provide cheap gasoline but that we pay as much for it as countries that do not have refineries.
How many people work at the refinery?
900 people work at the refinery. Most people think that thousands work there, but that hasn’t been the case for a very long time. In the 1950’s more than 10,000 people worked for Shell.
How many jobs will GreenTown provide?
GreenTown will provide for 16.000 jobs in the maritime industry, in ship building & maintenance, in the entertainment industry, in recycling, in the fishing industry, in the extension of the current free trade zone, in shopping & retail services, in financial services and in city services.
If the Isla refinery is shut down what will happen to its current employees?
No jobs will be lost! Everyone who works for Isla will get a job in GreenTown. We need people who can start immediately, for example, by cleaning and decontaminating the terrain. The harbor and ground around it are heavily polluted and drenched in oil. The people who currently work at the refinery are experts when it comes to oil and they know the installations there better than anyone else. We would like to implement these people as environmental experts, dismantlers, industrial cleaners etc. After having dismantled the refinery and decontaminated the terrain we will begin work on building the new city. A tremendous amount of people will be needed to do that. Therefore, everyone who currently works at the refinery will be guaranteed a job by and at GreenTown Curaçao. It will take a lot of effort and because of that we need everyone to participate.
What is the Isla?
Isla the nickname for what is officially called Refineria di Korsou. PDVSA, Venezuela’s national oil company, leases and operates the refinery.
What are the (financial advantages) for the Netherlands to participate in this initiative?
The Netherlands and its business community can become pioneers in clean energy. The city of GreenTown Curaçao is unique and offers many opportunities to universities and think tanks, such as TU Delft and TNO, or Dutch companies such as Ballast Nedam, Boskalis and of course Shell. The latter has a tremendous amount of expertise when it comes to dismantling refineries and sustainable energy.
The Netherlands has already invested a lot of money into Curaçao, why would they want to continue doing so?
We aren’t asking the Dutch government and its citizens for money. GreenTown Curaçao offers Dutch companies a unique opportunity to position themselves in sustainability.
Haven’t we seen these types of ambitious projects before? How certain can we be that a project of this magnitude can succeed?
Airport Schiphol started this way. As was the Panama Canal. In Canada they want to cut a path through arctic ice to shorten the route to Asia. No one can be certain of success but we have to have the courage to tackle this endeavor now otherwise we are in danger of losing so much precious time. We can’t delay this any longer and pass our problems on to our children.
Why would Shell share the costs of cleaning the Isla terrain?
We do not want to ask Shell to clean the terrain. Curaçao agreed to buy from shell the refinery and all her real estate for the symbolic sum of one guilder. Indeed, Shell was spared the estimated 300 to 800 million dollars clean-up costs. On the other hand, Curaçao acquired for one guilder the refinery, the Curaçao Oil Terminal (COT), the Shell tugboats, the terrain and large tracts of real estate on the island. The government of the Netherlands Antilles and Shell agreed to this. It is a done deal and cannot be changed. However, if Shell wants to create a positive image of itself, in the Netherlands, Curaçao and internationally, then GreenTown Curaçao can help her do so.We would like to see Shell provide her expertise during the dismantling and cleanup of the terrain. Also, we would like to see Shell take on an active role in the establishment of GreenTown as a city based on sustainable energy. From a PR and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) point of view we feel that they should do so. It would improve Shell’s reputation tremendously!
The houses in GreenTown wouldn’t be affordable to the general population right? Will Curaçaoans really benefit?
We will create both social housing projects as well as villa’s and waterfront condos. A balance between the two must be found. The Curaçao government is obligated to think along these lines. Our mission is to create sufficient social housing in GreenTown. It will be a city that is pleasurable both to live and work in.