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Foreign operator will likely get nod for former Petrotrin refinery—Khan

TT Pointe-a-Pierre Refinery

By Kevon Felmine / TT Guardian

Petroleumworld 07 01 2019

Petrotrin's Pointe-a-Pierre Refinery, now called Guaracara Refining Company Ltd, will "most likely" be leased to a foreign operator, Energy Minister Franklin Khan.

He was speaking at a PNM meeting in Point Fortin on Thursday night under the theme Let's Talk Energy.

"Guaracara Refining and terminalling (storage) facilities is very likely to be leased to a private operator. Very likely, an international operator because there is no indigenous capacity to run a refinery of that size and complexity. We will be focus­ing on Heritage," Khan said.

This means that the OWTU's bid along some other 50 operators has been ruled out.

Up until Labour Day, June 19, the union which represented the former Petrotrin workers was confident that its bid to lease and operate the refinery would be successful.

Khan said the refinery will be reopened under a new operator and the same workers who were retrenched from Petrotrin and given "attractive severance packages" would be reemployed.

He maintained that the Government's decision to close Petrotrin saved the country from being downgraded by international ratings agencies. He said Petrotrin's downfall was as a result of bad investments in the Gas Optimization Project, the Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel plant and the World Gas to Liquid plant. It was projected that Petrotrin would have lost $2 billion yearly if it had been allowed to continue.

Earlier during the meeting, former Petrotrin Trinmar Operation workers booed Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley as he entered the meeting.

It was an unusual welcome for Rowley as the Borough has been a strong­hold of the PNM since the party reclaimed the seat from the Nation al Alliance for Reconstruction in the 1991 general elections.

As Nation al Security Minister Stuart Young spoke, the former oil workers, as well as those wearing PEP shirts, heckled and called for an explanation on the shutdown of Atlantic's Train 1.

The commotion led police officers to caution the group and threatening to expel OTWU member Nigel White from the meeting.

White said that he came to the meeting to listen to what the government had to say. However, he said while people cheered when they agreed with what was being said, he chose to respond when he did not agree.

"If they say something and I don't agree, I say no. They are lying to the people. If they say something that is not true, I will say no, but the police are saying that they are of the opinion that I am disrupting the meeting.

"They're not telling anybody what they are about to do where energy is concerned, they come to blame Kamla. We did not come to hear that. We can not strive as a people when the government is fooling the people. They closed down Train 1 and Petrotrin and telling people to come and work for $10 and $15 per hour," White said.


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Story by Kevon Felmine from TT Guardian. 06 26 2019


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