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Trinidad & Tobago MP David Lee says “This Energy Minister is delusional”

 

 

By Sean Douglas

PORT SPAIN
Petroleumworld 10 08 2018


POINTE-A-PIERRE MP David Lee said the Petrotrin brouhaha has wiped the smile from the face of Energy Minister Franklin “Frankie” Khan.

“This Energy Minister is delusional,” Lee said in the House budget debate on Friday, of Khan's stance that the new Petrotrin would import refined product and re-export to Caricom nations which Lee said are already seeking fresh sources.

He used to smile a lot but not again. I feel he personally is not in agreement with shutting down Petrotrin but he is going along with the status quo.” Lee challenged Khan, “I want to ask the Minister of Energy, who recommended the closure of Petrotrin? Who really recommended the closure?”

Lee said that none of the reports on Petrotrin– by Lashley, Solomon or Mc Kinsey–had recommended the closure.

“The narrative keeps changing,” he said of the time-line of Government's various explanations as to Petrotrin's fate.

While the Prime Minister had promised to be “transparent, honest and accountable,” Lee said the Government had not been so over Petrotrin.

The MP feared for TT's energy security, saying, “Purchasing fuels from abroad is an entire business by itself.”

Saying Petrotrin has never undertaken this before, he said Khan should have told the House from where would TT buy these refined products and at what cost, and to where would TT export/sell its own crude oil? Saying TT overnight now loses its guaranteed supply of gasoline and LPG, Lee said, “Now we are no better than any Caricom country.”

Accusing Government of failing in the energy sector, such as having zero foreign direct investment to TT in the past three years and zero deep-water bid-rounds, Lee accused them of trying to steal the People's Partnership's credit for successful gas extraction projects such as Juniper, Angelin and Starfish.

Lee accused Government of a lack of transparency over Petrotrin, yet said all the signals were there all along for its current fate, including the entrance of chairman Wilfred Espinet on the heels of his tenure at Trinidad Cement Ltd.

Lee said, “From the time I saw Mr Espinet as chairman, I knew this was the final nail.” Noting Khan's disclosure of the moth-balling of the refinery and its assets, Lee said the bulk of funding to save asset integrity was in fact needed for the exploration and production unit, (that is extraction of crude oil not refining.) Lee blamed a past PNM administration for Petrotrin's $10 million debt incurred under former chairman Malcolm Jones who had headed the costly and failed Gas To Liquids (GTL) project.

ORIGINAL STORY:

POINTE-A-PIERRE MP David Lee said the Petrotrin brouhaha has wiped the smile from the face of Energy Minister Franklin “Frankie” Khan.

“This Energy Minister is delusional,” Lee said in the House budget debate on Friday, of Khan's stance that the new Petrotrin would import refined product and re-export to Caricom nations which Lee said are already seeking fresh sources. “He used to smile a lot but not again. I feel he personally is not in agreement with shutting down Petrotrin but he is going along with the status quo.” Lee challenged Khan, “I want to ask the Minister of Energy, who recommended the closure of Petrotrin? Who really recommended the closure?”

Lee said that none of the reports on Petrotrin - by Lashley, Solomon or Mc Kinsey - had recommended the closure.

“The narrative keeps changing,” he said of the time-line of Government's various explanations as to Petrotrin's fate.

While the Prime Minister had promised to be “transparent, honest and accountable,” Lee said the Government had not been so over Petrotrin.


________________________


Story by Sean Douglas from Trinidad & Tobago Newsday

newsday.co.tt 10 08 2018


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