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