Officials at A&V Drilling agrees the manual ‘dip stick’ method should be replaced with an automated system to determine oil pumped by private lease operators and stored in tanks for sale to state-owned Petrotrin.
But the company’s management, in denying collusion with Petrotrin employees to overstate oil production from its Catshill, Barrackpore field told reporters yesterday during a tour of its facilities, that it has documentation to prove its oil claims to Petrotrin are real and to show how its oil production spiked in recent times.
The company has been named in a Petrotrin audit report which alleged close to $100 million in payments between January to July for oil that allegedly was never received by Petrotrin. A&V flew oil drilling consultant Jim Krissa from Canada, two days ago, to participate in the tour yesterday. Petroleum engineer Nazir Ali was also at the tour.
“The report questioned our production levels, but we can prove from our records that we have 38 wells and invested $1 million every five days in workover operations in which we built cluster wells. We had 560 barrels per day, so, multiply that by 38 wells. Just because our wells increased in production does not mean that an audit report is true. We have moved to 1,600 barrels in our fields and the records are there to show,” Ali said.
A&V managing director Nazim Baksh, a good friend of Prime Minister Keith Rowley, did not participate in the tour but his attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, was present. Maharaj said that tomorrow, A&V representatives will hold a press conference where it will explain details of its oil production and present evidence to counter inferences by Petrotrin audit report.
A&V is claiming $45 million from Petrotrin for crude supplied to the refinery for the months of June and July, but the audit committee has recommended Petrotrin withhold that payment. Krissa said it would not be feasible to install an automated system to check oil production from lease operators’ fields because wells are ‘small production’ and can become dormant.
“It will be a waste of money. I do not want to get into the aspect of the report, but what I can say here, is that wells here are drilled to about 3,500 feet or 6,500 feet to the limit. It flows high volume in short periods. It’s a great cost to the contractor to generate more wells, but what we see is that A&V has is cluster drilling and that is cause for the high volume oil production,” Krissa said.
Following reports of violence and threats meted out to several journalists by A&V associates several days ago, the company publicly apologised to the media and invited it to yesterday’s tour and tomorrow’s press conference. Journalists who attended the tour yesterday later reported they were unharmed and were not molested.