ENERGY Minister Franklin says 18 former employees of Petrotrin have been rehired at the newly established companies. He was responding to urgent questions in the House yesterday from Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh.
Khan said at Heritage Petroleum, which is now the core company, to date 39 senior and middle managers have been hired, 16 of whom are former Petrotrin employees. He said for Paria Trading three senior managers have been employed, two of them former Petrotrin employees. At Guaracara Refining no one has been employed to date because the company will be the custodian of the refinery assets and there will be very limited employment.
“There will just be a custodian, and employment will take place very shortly.” Indarsingh asked under what categories and terms and conditions the employees were employed, and Khan responded he was willing to supply the titles of positions, but terms and conditions should be confidential to the employee. Yesterday the oil company was officially shut down.
Indarsingh also asked whether employees who contributed to the Petrotrin Employees Pension Plan were all given benefits statements before the date of closure. Khan responded that all benefits statements were issued before the closure, but could not say whether the statements were audited.
Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee asked whether all processes to secure the refinery and comply with environmental standards had been executed to prevent any environmental or mechanical mishaps.
Khan responded: “I am pleased to announce that as we speak, all plants and processing plants at the Petrotrin refinery have been safely shut down in accordance with proper environmental practices.”
He said all hydrocarbons have been removed and the processing plants placed under a nitrogen atmosphere, which is an inert atmosphere, to prevent corrosion, fires and ignitions. Khan said the refinery is closed, the steam plants down and “everything is safe.” He added Government was now going out for a request for proposal (RFP) for someone to run the refinery.
Lee asked if the Environmental Management Authority gave a Certificate of Environmental Clearance for the shutdown and Khan said it was a routine operation and a CEC was not needed. He added, however, that the activities were carried out in consultation with the EMA and under the authority’s supervision.
Lee asked what will happen to environmental issues with no employees at Guaracara Refining. Khan said while there were no employees at present at Guaracara, third-party service contracts have been awarded.
“So there is staff who is monitoring the refinery, supervising the refinery, and doing maintenance work as we speak.”
He said the contract was awarded via a public RFP and was won by Damus Ltd.