MICHAEL QUAMINA has his work cut out for him, former energy minister Kevin Ramnarine believes. Quamina was named chairman of Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Ltd and its subsidiary, Heritage Petroleum Co Ltd yesterday, replacing Wilfred Espinet, who oversaw the companies’ transition from Petrotrin.
Petrotrin was shuttered last November. Heritage is charged with reviving the State’s downstream energy fortunes. “Heritage is in a hole and he has to try and get out of it. There is a lot of work to do to get the production to increase.” Part of the problem, Ramnarine believes, is that there has been no stability at Petrotrin and now its successors since 2015. “This is the third chairman of Petrotrin/TPHL since 2017 and there have been numerous iterations of boards and management. The situation with Mike Wylie is unfortunate and I wish him well with his health issues. The fact is, though, production at Petrotrin/Heritage has seen significant decline in the past three years. Reversing this will require money. Where is that money coming from? The company has a lot of debt to service.” The most recent accounts show total liabilities at $32 billion and current liabilities at $23 billion. The company has also just recently managed to restructure its debt, avoiding an $850 million bullet bond payment that would have been due this month. “Heritage has to service that (restructured) debt, invest in new drilling projects, upgrade infrastructure and pay taxes all at the same time. This is a tall task for a company that has declining production, soft oil prices and which has lost a lot of the institutional capacity that was at Petrotrin.”