Team appointed to examine bids for former Petrotrin refinery

Find a pre­ferred bid­der for the Pointe a Pierre re­fin­ery AS­AP.


The of­fi­cial­ly con­sti­tut­ed Guaracara Eval­u­a­tion team scru­ti­n­is­ing bid­ders for sale or lease of the Guaracara Re­fin­ery (for­mer­ly Petrotrin’s re­fin­ery at Point a Pierre) has been man­dat­ed to com­plete its job in the “short­est pos­si­ble time,”

En­er­gy Min­is­ter Franklin Khan who con­firmed this yes­ter­day, added: “It’s a com­plex mat­ter but it’s crit­i­cal for T&T.”

Khan spoke briefly af­ter the names of the 10 mem­ber Eval­u­a­tion team were of­fi­cial­ly is­sued by Trinidad Pe­tro­le­um Hold­ings Com­pa­ny, (TPH­CL) par­ent com­pa­ny of the three suc­ces­sor sub­sidiaries which were formed fol­low­ing Petrotrin’s clo­sure last Au­gust.

TPH­CL said the Guaracara Eval­u­a­tion Com­mit­tee in­cludes Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Fi­nance Min­istry Vish­nu Dhan­paul (chair­man), for­mer Petrotrin deputy chair­man An­tho­ny Chan Tack for­mer Petrotrin board mem­ber Claire Gomez-Miller, re­tired labour leader Joseph Re­my, For­mer Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Nu­trien (for­mer­ly PCS Ni­tro­gen Trinidad Lim­it­ed) Ian Welch, En­er­gy Min­istry Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Sel­wyn Lash­ley; in­sur­ance ex­ec­u­tive Dale McLeod, En­er­gy Min­istry deputy PS and econ­o­mist San­dra Fras­er, NP chair­man Sahid Ho­sein and An­gos­tu­ra chair­man Ter­rance Bharath.

Khan told Guardian Me­dia,” We want­ed a more broad-based eval­u­a­tion team and the mem­bers—who in­clude se­nior pub­lic of­fi­cers plus oth­er busi­ness and labour ex­perts—pro­vide a wider pool and would be best suit­ed to ap­pro­pri­ate­ly se­lect what’s need­ed for the re­fin­ery.”

Con­tact­ed at the Min­istry, Dhan­paul con­firmed he had signed a non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment and couldn’t speak about the team’s job.

TPH­CL’s state­ment in­di­cat­ed that the ap­point­ment of the team will re­move any re­quire­ment for TPH­CL’s Board of Di­rec­tors to con­duct the eval­u­a­tion and se­lec­tion since the team will as­sume full re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for the se­lec­tion of the pre­ferred bid­der.

“Con­se­quent­ly, the Gov­ern­ment has in­dem­ni­fied the Board of Di­rec­tors of Trinidad Pe­tro­le­um Hold­ings Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed (TPH­CL) from any li­a­bil­i­ty that may stem from the de­ci­sions and/or ac­tions of the Eval­u­a­tion Com­mit­tee,” TPH­CL stat­ed.

Cab­i­net ap­proved the team in June .

Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley said in June that the Pointe-a-Pierre re­fin­ery was ad­ver­tised to the world and “a num­ber of com­pa­nies” re­spond­ed. Sub­se­quent­ly the team was cho­sen, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the board at Petrotrin and oth­er skilled peo­ple from the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor. He said mem­bers would ex­am­ine what was of­fered, choose the best op­tion af­ter analy­sis and make a rec­om­men­da­tion to Cab­i­net by Au­gust. He said Cab­i­net will ex­am­ine that rec­om­men­da­tion and take “a far-reach­ing de­ci­sion to do some­thing with the re­fin­ery.”

The team will eval­u­ate all bid­ders par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Guaracara RFP (in­clud­ing bid­ders in Stage 1 and Stage 2) and make a rec­om­men­da­tion to Cab­i­net on the pre­ferred bid­der.

In April, Gov­ern­ment stat­ed 70 bids were re­ceived. In May TPHL’s tran­si­tion team chair­man Lisa Ali told the Sun­day Guardian the process had pro­gressed up to the non-bind­ing first round stage and 25 of the 70 had signed con­fi­den­tial­i­ty agree­ments.

Ali con­firmed the as­sets of Paria Fu­el Trad­ing were part of the RFP for the re­fin­ery—and there was on­ly one RFP—to al­low for the widest range of pro­pos­als. She said Paria’s as­sets were part of the in­te­grat­ed oil com­pa­ny and any­one op­er­at­ing the re­fin­ery would need ac­cess to Paria’s ter­mi­nal to bring crude in­to T&T and ex­port fin­ished prod­uct.

Reporter:  Gail Alexander

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