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Sunday 16 June 2019
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Profit declaration by Petrotrin a sham

President General of the OWTU Ancel Roget.
President General of the OWTU Ancel Roget. PHOTO BY ANIL RAMPERSAD

The Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) is calling for an investigation into claims by chairman of State-owned-Petrotrin Wilfred Espinet that the company made an $85.6 million profit for the quarter ended in June 2018.

OWTU’s president general Ancel Roget viewed the declaration with skepticism and said it must be, “Properly interrogated to unearth the misinformation and downright lies.”

He also denied claims that oil workers the OWTU represents were earning a monthly income of $40,000, or that the wage bill was 54 percent of the company’s operating cost.

Addressing his union’s 79th Annual Conference of Delegates on Friday at the Paramount Building, San Fernando, Roget questioned how the company could declare a profit when there were outstanding sums owed to contractors.

“You cannot delay or refuse to pay contractors millions of dollars for work already done, cancel critical contracts to protect human lives and the environment, not supply temporary employment to continue the operations, resulting in the loss of 861,900 barrels on indigenous crude and still declare a profit. What a sham.”

Roget told his audience, “The undeniable fact is that since he (Espinet) and this new board was appointed, Petrotrin’s performance fell even further. His woeful attempt to take Petrotrin out of its current predicament is to manage Petrotrin through the media, while Robert Riley a paid consultant manage the explorations and production operations by Skype out of London. These people have no interest in our national oil company.”

Countering claims by Espinet about fantastic salaries oil workers earn monthly, Roget said, “The chairman attempts to put the public against Petrotrin workers by making the most erroneous statement about the men and women who risk their lives to put revenue on the table for the national economy. It is a down right and wilful lie that the workers of Petrotrin earns $40,000 a month, and it is also a lie that Petrotrin, wage bill is 54 per cent of the cost to operate the entire Petrotrin.”

He accused Espinet of refusing to fill numerous vacancies, “Which inevitably will lead to workers working double and triple shifts every day, just to keep the operations going and then complains about overtime. Clearly the country has seen that this man is incompetent and is a total failure.”

Roget again called for Espinet’s removal as chairman, and suggested putting in place “a patriotic and knowledgeable person to guide this operations safely back to profitability.”

Commenting on the apparent reluctance by government to deal with allegations of corruption and bad management at various state enterprises, Roget said these practices are continuing unabated at the expense for the job security for the workers they represent.

“In fact the political interference and placing incompetent people at Board levels did not end when the United National Congress went out of office, if anything at all, Dr Rowley has continued, the only difference is that instead of Kamla’s (Kamla Persad -Bissessar) incompetent people it is now Dr Rowley’s incompetent people.”

He said this is the circumstances in which Espinet who has publicly confessed that he knows nothing about the Oil Industry, was still appointed the Chairman.

“The man does not know that the vast majority of Petrotrin’s crude oil production comes from second hand recovery, and that to maintain that production, and to arrest the natural rate of decline you have to have an aggressive maintenance programme.”

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