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Monday 23 October 2017
Politics

Energy Minister confident of Petrotrin turnaround, calls it “fixable”

Petrotrin's refinery in Pointe-a-Pierre

Energy Minister Franklin yesterday remained confident that State oil company Petrotrin, "is fixable." Khan expressed his confidence as he defended the company's recently appointed board of directors. Speaking with reporters after a function at his ministry's headquarters at Tower C of the Port-of-Spain International Waterfront Centre, Khan said there is no problem with the ministry's permanent secretary Selwyn Lashley being a member of the Petrotrin board.

He said Lashley consulted with the Head of the Public Service as to whether his presence on the board would constitute a potential conflict of interest., "From that level, he had no objection to his appointment," Khan said. Reiterating that the board's appointment was "a collective Cabinet decision," Khan said Cabinet confirmed the note about the Petrotrin board at its regular weekly meeting at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's yesterday.

Describing the members of the Petrotrin board as "very competent," Khan said the company needs three things to improve its current circumstances. He identified these are proper skill sets at the managerial and senior managerial level; the right skill set in Petrotrin's core to effect the turnaround and, "serious new capital injection." Saying these things form part of the new board's mandate, Khan reiterated, "The Government does not intend to handle the day to day operations of Petrotrin."

Khan said he would speak again with the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) about their concerns with the new board. However Khan said the OWTU is acutely aware that, "the challenges are extremly grave at Petrotrin." Noting the union is a key player in the company's turnaround, Khan was confient that the OWTU would be willing to work with Petrotrin's board and management.

He said it is, "in their own interest that Petrotrin be put right." Khan also expressed optimism that this year's revenues from the energy sector would be higher than last year's. He hoped this would be reflected in the 2017/2018 Budget. Sources said the budget is expected to be presented in Parliament either in the last week of September or first week in October.

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