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Uncertainty over restructuring Petrotrin- Ramnarine

By Rapheal John-Lall

Petroleumworld 03 05 2018

Although talks are ongoing on the future of state-owned Petrotrin, former Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine maintains that there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the energy company.

“For the last year, we have been hearing about the restructuring of the company. It started with the Selwyn Lashley committee in 2017 which recommended the company be divided into three divisions: Land Production, Trinmar and Refining and Marketing (R&M).

“Last week at the Joint Select Committee we heard that the Board had opted for two divisions namely Upstream and R&M. Yesterday we heard its now to be restructured into four divisions: Land, Trinmar, R&M and Health Operations. We have gone from three to two to four. So there is a lot of uncertainty and ambivalence as to what is happening at Petrotrin,” he said.

Ramnarine said the aim of restructuring should be to reduce the cost of lifting a barrel of crude oil, reduce the cost of refining a barrel of crude oil and increasing oil production.

“If this is not achieved we are wasting a lot of time and money on expensive consultants. It is also being made out that the issue with high cost is because of the management of the company. This is not correct and is a deflection from the real source of the bloated cost structure of the company,” he said.

“Note too that this approach of separating the company into divisions was tried before in the late 1990’s and it was later abandoned because it was deemed to have failed as it created a lot of duplication. So we wait to see how effective this new approach will be.”

On the future role of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union’s (OWTU), the former minister said: “It is clear that they have a major say in this restructuring since they have gotten their way regarding the divisions and having Trinmar separated, so the jury is out as to whether this will navigate the company to efficiency, productivity and profitability. Ultimately, national interest must triumph.”

Dr Roger Hosein, senior lecturer at UWI, said the priority is for Petrotrin to reduce its wage bill.

“The company will need to continue in this direction to trim its manpower operating costs in line with best practice. As it stands there is little operating capital left after paying its wage bill and this reduces the likelihood that the company can address its aging infrastructure, with all type of attendant consequences.”


Story by Rapheal John-Lall from Trinidad & Tobago Guardian
03 03 2018

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