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Thursday 13 August, 2020

Energy Ministry: Patriotic needed more information pushing back talks

Energy Minister Franklin Khan

Energy Minister Franklin Khan

The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries has sought to clear the air on the delay in negotiations with the Patriotic Energy and Technologies Company Limited regarding the purchase of the old Petrotrin refinery.

This follows an exchange between Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) President General Ancel Roget.

On Wednesday, Dr Rowley told the Parliament there was a slight holdup on Patriotic’s end as the organization requested additional data on the plant. However, in a response published in the three daily newspapers on Friday, Roget said his union had not requested any time extension.

As such, the Ministry of Energy released details noting that Patriotic Energies did, in fact, request additional information.

“The Hansard record will show that the Honourable Prime Minister said, ‘So there is some element of delay involve, but we cannot go faster than Patriotic Energies is prepared to go and the Evaluation Committee has to have something to evaluate.  So if Patriotic Energies has asked for additional information in this expert review of the Plant, that is, the first part of the process.’  The records will clearly show that Patriotic Energies requested a significant amount of additional information.”

The statement recalled that on January 15, 2020, a Cabinet appointed sub-committee, members of the evaluation team and technocrats from the Ministry, met with Patriotic Energies.  The release said that at that meeting the company indicated it wanted to conduct a detailed inspection of the refinery amongst other things before it proceeded with the negotiations.

A letter was reportedly sent by Patriotic Energies two days later outlining some 250 specific requests in various categories of finance, contracts, labour and employee relations, license and permits, environmental liability etc.

The Ministry said that in the interim, the Government set up various teams of experts to meet with Patriotic Energies.  The Refinery inspection should begin next week. It added that although owned by the OWTU, deals go through Patriotic’s Board of Directors to which Roget is not apart.

Meanwhile, the Government expressed confidence that an amicable solution will be reached between both parties.

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