State oil company Petrotrin yesterday announced the termination of its contract with A&V Drilling and Workover Limited.
The lease operator was at the centre of the fake oil scandal at Petrotrin. In a statement, Petrotrin said the findings of its audit department have been confirmed by an independent, forensic audit conducted by Canadian consultancy firm, Kroll Consulting Canada Company. The Kroll audit was commissioned by Petrotrin’s board of directors.
Another report from Gaffney Cline advised that the reservoir from which the oil had been produced was incapable of yielding the reported volumes.
Petrotrin gave written notice of termination to AV Drilling and Workover Limited, parent company of A&V Oil and Gas Ltd, this week after it communicated its findings to the company and gave it an opportunity to respond. Petrotrin chairmen Wilfred Espinet said while some commentators have expressed concern at the rate of Petrotrin’s findings, it was critical that the board act only after careful consideration of all relevant matters.
He said this included the response of the lease operator to the findings. “Adherence to process is the most important component of this exercise. We are being guided by expert counsel, and we are committed to ensuring that we do things in accordance with proper procedure,” Espinet stated.
Petrotrin is reported to have paid US$8 million to the A&V group for oil it never received. A&V’s owner Nizam Baksh is a friend of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. Baksh’s daughter Allyson Baksh served as government senator but resigned last month in the wake of the scandal.
At Wednesday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said, “This government is prepared to investigate itself.” Al-Rawi said the decision to investigate the fake oil scandal was done by Petrotrin’s board of directors and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar could take no credit for this.
Rowley and Energy Minister Franklin Khan have said due process must be allowed to take its course in this matter.