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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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Roget vows to seal US$700m deal for refinery

OWTU president general Ancel Roget reads Newsday's front page, last Thursday, on Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal's call for an investigation of the union's acquistion of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. FILE PHOTO BY MARVIN HAMILTON
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OWTU president general Ancel Roget reads Newsday's front page, last Thursday, on Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal's call for an investigation of the union's acquistion of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. FILE PHOTO BY MARVIN HAMILTON -

No one will prevent Patriotic Energies and Technologies Co Ltd from acquiring the refinery of former state oil company Petrotrin, Oil Workers Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget strongly stated, on Friday.

Yesterday marked the one-month deadline, given by the government, for Patriotic – which bid US$700 million for the refinery – to submit the 10-point requirement to the evaluation committee for the completion of the acquisition process.

Patriotic has to present a draft sales and purchase agreement and other commercial agreements, inclusive of crude handling, domestic fuel supply, natural gas supply, product off-take and transition support, a business plan and a statement of fiscal incentives or tax concessions.

They must also provide a refinery start-up plan, a suitable staffing plan, proof of qualification and an approach to any historical environmental liabilities. Confirmation of its ability to finance the purchase of the refinery must also be submitted along with approval from the Patriotic board of directors. The findings must be forwarded to the government in two weeks.

Patriotic has almost finished gathering the required documents to complete the final stage for the acquisition, Roget told the media at the opening of the OWTU's Tobago office in Scarborough. He said the company has had no difficulties putting the documents together. “We will close the process successfully and begin the operations of the refinery after add the requisite repairs are done,” he said. “We are well on the way to ensure we continue and complete the process of acquisition. When that is done, we will continue to have a reliable supply of fuel for TT.” He said Patriotic will not be distracted by the UNC's allegations about the acquisition of the refinery, which he described as “baseless and full of mischief.” He said he was confident the claims will not affect the agreement between Patriotic and the government. “We take the acquisition very seriously and Patriotic is prepared to do what is necessary to clear its name,” he said.

“The financiers would have seen the benefit. The cogent nature of the business plan we would have put together and the potential of that entity to deliver. It placed us at an advantageous position to talk with all of those people who have the finance to support us going forward.”

Last week, UNC Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal claimed to have found a paper trail linking the the Prime Minister's close friend and head of A&V Drilling Vidya Deokiesingh to government's acceptance of Patriotic's bid for the refinery. He also raised questions about a meeting with CEO of investment firm, SunStone Equity, John Van Dyke, MSJ leader David Abdulah and Roget in relation to the deal. Van Dyke told Newsday, last week, the company did advise the OWTU on financing for the bid but no longer has ties with the union or Patriotic, and instead said the operations of Petrotrin by previous management should be investigated.

On September 19, Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced Government had selected Patriotic as the preferred bidder for the refinery.

On Friday, Roget said if the government had followed a previous proposal of restructuring the refinery, “we would not have been in this situation that we are in currently." He said it was always the union’s plan to buy the refinery and if this had been done the “pain and suffering to thousands of people including workers” after the closure of the refinery could have been avoided.

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