Khan: Foreign operator will likely get nod for refinery

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 re-em­ployed.

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 Na­tion­al Al­liance for Re­con­struc­tion in the 1991 gen­er­al elec­tions.

As Na­tion­al 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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