Energy Chamber calls for solution to Patriotic refinery sale

File photo: A view of the refinery along the Guaracara River in Gasparillo. Photo by Marvin Hamilton
File photo: A view of the refinery along the Guaracara River in Gasparillo. Photo by Marvin Hamilton

The Energy Chamber is encouraging all stakeholders to find a solution to complete the state-owned Pointe-a-Pierre refinery sale to a private-sector entity. Completing the negotiation would allow the new owner to generate value for TT, a release from the chamber said on Tuesday.

"The Energy Chamber fully supports the privatisation of the refinery to put the assets to productive use," the release said.

"The Energy Chamber has been monitoring the recent announcements from both the government and from the OWTU with respect to the proposal from Patriotic Energies and Technologies Ltd and the decision to re-establish the evaluation committee to review the latest proposal."

On Monday, on the Prime Minister's instruction, the Cabinet-appointed evaluation committee to evaluate the request for proposals for the refinery's use got a new deadline to examine the latest position of the negotiating parties.

A release from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries said the reconstituted committee's comments and recommendations will be submitted directly to the Cabinet. This exercise of review and clarification is to be completed and submitted by November 30. The initial deadline was October 31.

Patriotic is owned by the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU). On Sunday, a day after the Energy Minister announced that the government rejected Patriotic's latest proposal, head of the union, Ancel Roget, had called for the committee to re-examine it.

Newsday contacted Dr Thackwray "Dax" Driver, the camber’s CEO, on Tuesday for comments regarding the issue, and the chamber later issued the release.

"The Energy Chamber stands ready to work with all stakeholders, as the country determines the best strategy on the privatisation of these assets, in the context of the energy transition and the aftermath of the global covid19 pandemic," the release said.

"In this regard, we look forward to providing additional information and ideas on the future of transport fuels locally, regionally and internationally and the opportunities and threats that the changes in global energy markets present to TT."

The refinery's closure, the release said, meant the loss of many jobs and economic opportunities for our member companies and other businesses, especially in fence-line communities.

"Returning the assets of the refinery to productive operations will generate jobs, economic activity and taxes. This must be an objective shared by all stakeholders," it said.

Patriotic is hoping that the latest proposal would lead to the swift completion of the acquisition process. In September 2019, the company offered US$700 million for the refinery, which the Government accepted on terms of a three-year moratorium on principal and interest payments, and ten years to make the full payment.

On Saturday, Energy Minister Franklin Khan said the company's final proposal did not meet requirements for purchase price financing, refinery restart financing and a lien on the assets.


"Energy Chamber calls for solution to Patriotic refinery sale"

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