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Wednesday 21 November 2018
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Ramesh reveals ‘secret’ Petrotrin report

Copies sent to PM, Energy Minister

REVELATIONS: A&V Oil’s attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj addresses reporters at his law chamber on Thursday.
REVELATIONS: A&V Oil’s attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj addresses reporters at his law chamber on Thursday.

DOCUMENTS purported to be a Petrotrin “report” have surfaced which alleges system shortfalls the company experienced in calculating crude production from its farmed-out oil wells, including the controversial Catshill field seized from A&V Drilling, for overstated production.

A&V’s attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, has sent Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Energy Minister Franklin Khan a copy each of the “secret report”, which Maharaj claims, justifies oil production fluctuation and crude volume descrepancies at the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

Maharaj called a press conference at his San Fernando law chambers, where he discussed aspects of the report which he termed, “a supplemental internal audit report” dated August 21, 2017.

The existence of this report, Maharaj said, has neither been confirmed nor denied by Petrotrin.

He said the report was a follow-up to a May internal audit report, the latter having been used by Petrotrin to invite Krolls Consulting of Canada, to investigate A&V’s overstated oil production and Petrotrin’s operating systems.

A&V, of Penal, shot into the limelight when Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar revealed at a political meeting that a Petrotrin May 2017 internal audit report accused five of its employees of collusion with A&V personnel in overstating crude supplied from Catshill to the Pointe-Pierre refinery.

The result was $800 million revenue payout for oil never received at the refinery. The Wilfred Espinet-led board hired Canadian forensic auditors Kroll and supplemented its findings with those of United States-based Gaffney Cline & Associates, which led the company in Febuary to seize A&V’s oil wells and withold $84 million for crude supplied for June 2017 and December 2017, plus $12 million for crude supplied in January and February.

Maharaj said it was an affront to the public interest that Petrotrin continued to keep secret its first audit report, the Kroll and Cline reports, and now this supplemental report.

It was based on these reports, which remain company internal secret documents, Maharaj added, that A&V was fired, its monies witheld and 43 new wells costing over $1 billion, seized.

“Important relevant facts were concealed by Petrotrin from A&V, the courts and the public which led to termination of A&V’s contract, resulting in a substantial miscarriage of justice,” Maharaj claimed.

Maharaj said it was St Augustine MP Prakash Ramadhar who passed the Supplemental Report to him, with a covering letter that Ramadhar said was sent to his constituency office’s mailbox.

Ramadhar has since filed a question in Parliament for Khan to answer as to whether he is aware of this supplemental report.

Maharaj declined to share the report with reporters. He revealed aspects of the report which he said was signed by Petrotrin’s chief audit executive Rajkumar Bissessar and sent to the company’s vice president of refinery, marketing, exploration and production.

Reading from the report, Maharaj said, “It is crystal clear that the Supplemental Internal Audit Report concluded that Petrotrin’s own measurements of the volume of crude oil supplied by independent operators, including A&V, and which was sold to Petrotrin, are wholly inaccurate and unreliable because Petrotrin’s own employees repeatedly failed to adhere to standard operating procedures.”

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