Energy industry: Khan must revitalise sector

The Point Lisas Nitrogen Ltd plant at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate.  - JEFF K MAYERS
The Point Lisas Nitrogen Ltd plant at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate. - JEFF K MAYERS
Stakeholders in the energy industry patiently await the plans to be rolled out by reappointed Minister of Energy Franklin Khan to revitalise the sector.
Khan and his PNM Cabinet colleagues were sworn in on Wednesday at President's House in St Ann’s.
Extending congratulations was former minister of energy under the People’s Partnership administration Kevin Ramnarine, who said, “I wish him well. The road ahead will not be easy. He has to resuscitate Point Lisas, restart the refinery and reverse the slide in oil and natural gas output.”
President of the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce  Ramchand Rajbal Maraj told Newsday that Khan must find sound ways to revitalise the energy sector, which is urgently needed.
“Now more than ever we are seeing where the hydrocarbon industries, based on the gas and oil prices have led us to. And even before that, there was a bad negotiation based on the ArcelorMittal steel company.
“There was not much talk about because there was an investor who was very much interested in the negotiations. Negotiations and discussions with ArcelorMittal should be reopened.”
ArcleorMittal and another stell mill, Central Trinidad Steel Ltd (Centrin), shut down in 2016, leaving several hundred people unemployed. Norwegian-headquartered Yara International closed its only wholly-owned plant in December, and other companies like Canada's Nutrien and Methanex and Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Ltd, part of the Swiss-based Proman group, have all idled or mothballed some of their plants, citing economic challenges.
Maraj said if something is not done soon the Point Lisas Industrial Estate stands the chance of further decline and destruction, which would also have impacts on all tiers of stakeholders.
“We have had a downward slide since the ArcelorMittal shutdown, and the downstream industries continue to suffer because of the global prices and the prices afforded to them.
“We just have to wait and see what new plans the government has in store, and what new plans the Minister of Energy has to really revitalise the industrial estate and more, including what sort of diversification there is for the economy to get back on its feet.”
Maraj added that TT urgently needed investors, and for the government and the Oilfield Workers Trade Union to amicably settle negotiations because the refinery is critical for the industry. Government and the OWTU are yet to settle the handover of the former Petrotrin refinery to the union's Patriotic Energies and Technologies company. Khan could not immediately be reached for comment.


"Energy industry: Khan must revitalise sector"

More in this section