RUMOURS that National Petroleum (NP) is marketing poor quality gasoline were flatly rejected as “ill founded” by NP chairman Sahid Hosein yesterday when questioned by Parliament’s Public Accounts Enterprises Committee (PAEC) at Tower D, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain.
PAEC chairman Wade Mark asked whether the gasoline quality had deteriorated upon the import of foreign fuel (to replace that previously produced at the Petrotrin refinery), saying people had complained to him of a $90 or $100 weekly fuel bill last month now costing $160.
Hosein replied, “There are stringent protocols that are undertaken before the fuels go to the public.” He said he had heard concerns expressed on social media.
“While some of the concerns might be real, I am of the view a lot of it is just fear mongering outside in the public. Fuel that comes from Petrotrin comes with a certificate attesting to certain things – quality and what have you – and it comes up to our port at Sea Lots.
“Before we take custody of that fuel, we take samples and we test it. We have a first-class lab that is constantly certified by Cariri, the processes and equipment. It is tested to make sure it meets the specification and then it is offloaded into our tanks.”
This daily testing of fuel before it is sent out suggests any concerns about its quality are ill-founded, Hosein said. “I can’t really explain to you why somebody would be buying $90 and then suddenly paying $160, other than the price increased and I’m not sure the price increase warrants that.
Earlier, Hosein said the closure of Petrotrin and rising cost of fuel to the public have “critical implications” for NP. While NP has bought refined oil from Petrotrin, the closure of Petrotrin’s refinery means TT now relies on imported foreign oils.
Saying NP had enjoyed some leeway in paying Petrotrin, he said, “We are not sure if those will continue or evolve and what challenges they will pose.”