25 Jan 2011

Tonga minister calls for local oil refinery

3:29 pm on 25 January 2011

Tonga's minister of Public Enterprises, Clive Edwards, has recommended an oil refinery be built in Tonga.

Fuel prices have recently risen by six percent.

Taimi online reports Mr Edwards as saying Tonga's dependence on oil is not only seen at the petrol pump, but in everyday expenses like bus fares.

He says if the country can import unrefined oil and refine it in Tonga, it can be used locally as well as exported to neighbouring countries.

Mr Edwards says a location is ready for the proposed facility, which is the desert land between Sopu and Hihifo.

He says the next step is to get Australia and New Zealand to support the proposal, especially in terms of funding.