GOVERNMENT’S decision to shut down the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery is based on inaccurate data, and the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union is prepared to challenge that information, president-general Ancel Roget said yesterday.
The Systems Application Product is the programme that stores current data for the refinery, Roget said. It requires comprehensive cleaning, but that hasn’t happened.
“That incorrect data is what they (the Petrotrin board and the government) would have used about the current state of the refinery. It was not properly used and analysed. It is on the basis of incorrect data that they used to describe the refinery as an entity that cannot function,” Roget said. The union challenged the board to prove otherwise.
Roget presented a summary of the plan it had presented to the board of the state oil company. It also sent copies of the plan to President Paula-Mae Weekes, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
Among the suggestions— improving the refinery’s margins of operation and a joint venture to lease the refinery from the state. If the Prime Minister was ready to keep his word when he told the union in an address to the nation on Sept 2 that they would have first dibs at the refinery now that it’s been closed, Roget said the union was already in discussions with potential partners who are already ready to provide letters of expression of interest in the refinery.
Acknowledging the company’s debt burden, Roget also suggested that workers by back the US$850 million bond, the bullet payment for which is due next August, by contributing ten to 15 per cent of their salaries, which would eventually be repaid. He also suggested that the bond be refinanced, using the more efficient restructuring proposals that the union presented. Key to the viability of Petrotrin, he said, would be increasing exploration and production—the one thing the union and the board seem to agree on. The current production at Trinmar, Petrotrin’s marine holdings, is 18,000 barrels of oil, but, Roget said, of the 927 wells that Trinmar manages, only 40 percent are producing; 140 are abandoned but 490 with potential for reactivation. Getting those operational can lead to immediate quick wins, he said, of about 4,600 barrels more of oil per day. The Mobile offshore production union is also ready to be put back in service, adding 12,000 more barrels per day. On land, he said updated production sharing contracts, as well as risk service contracts could add as much as 15,000 more barrels.