$2.6 billion to close Petrotrin refinery
Severance packages for retrenched Petrotrin workers are expected to cost the State in the region of $2.6 billion.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert made the announcement based on initial estimates as he delivered the 2018/2019 fiscal package in Parliament on Monday.
State-owned oil company Petrotrin began its phased exit of the refining business on October 1.
This transition process is expected to be completed on November 30.
Approximately 4700 employees – 3500 permanent workers and approximately 1200 non-permanent workers - are expected to be affected in this restructuring exercise.
The Minister said 1400 employees are eligible for retirement packages in the closure of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, with some 800 workers to be recruited in Exploration and Production and 200 workers for the terminaling business unit.
He gave the assurance that support will be provided to the retrenched workers to ensure they make the transition to their new circumstances, as he expressed confidence that the transition will bring the Company back to a position of profitability.
“We are confident that the reinvented Petrotrin will assume its rightful place in the economy and positively contribute to the Treasury.”
The termination benefits will be paid on time, and in full, he continued.
Imbert added that Government remains open to any alternative proposal to the refinery, stating that the majority representative union, the Oilfields Workers Trade Union still has the first option to operate the refinery.
The Minister stressed that the closure of the refinery was a hard decision that had to be taken as it has been consistently losing over $2 billion over a number of years and, if left, unchecked will have a negative impact on Trinidad and Tobago's economy.
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