Petrotrin’s President Fitzroy Harewoood has declined comment on whether the company’s executive management had met with the newly appointed board of directors. Harewood was questioned by reporters at the consultation on the National Protected Area System Plan at Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre Staff club yesterday. The consultation was themed- “Improving Forest and Protected Area Management in Trinidad and Tobago.” He also declined to say whether the company had suggested an oil price to peg the 2018 budget before noting that the company had provided proposals to the Ministry of Finance in previous budgets.
Addressing the consultation, Harewood acknowledged the company’s responsibility towards environmental responsibility while conducting exploration activities for crude oil.
“As an organisation involved in the business of drilling for and producing oil and gas, there is an inevitable and immediate impact to the environment,” Harewood said, adding, “If we are to reflect on our history in this industry, much of it inherited, we have been in this business for more than one hundred years and there have been instances in the past where energy operators have worked at cross-purposes with nature with an unfortunate impact.”
“We at Petrotrin recognise, however, that to remain sustainable, we must be able to strike a balance between the pursuit of our business operations and the critical requirement of preserving our environment,” he said. Petrotrin has experinced several oil spills over the past few years.
He observed that Petrotrin is the largest landowner after the State saying several of the company’s pipelines and installations passed through or alongside protected areas and reserves.
He said some of the commonly known protected areas on land include Forest Reserve, the Trinity Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in Guayaguayare, and the Morne L’Enfer area while its offshore operations were in close proximity to Soldado Rock.
Harewood said TT could be identified as one of the most biologically diverse countries in the Caribbean as there were 36 forest reserves, 13 wildlife sanctuaries, three environmentally sensitive areas and one marine protected area.
“As the largest energy operator covering a significant proportion of this nation’s acreage, we cannot dispute at Petrotrin that we are neighbours to a significant amount of this country’s protected areas and an equally significant amount of this biological diversity.
“This makes our role as custodians of the nation’s natural resources even more complicated,” he said.
“As neighbour to so many protected areas, it is not just our business to find and produce oil or oil and gas.
“It is also our business to protect and preserve our natural heritage for future generations,” he said, adding that the Pointe-a-Pierre oil refinery was also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.