Wednesday 17 July, 2019

Khan: No preferred bidder for refinery yet

File photo: Energy Minister Franklin Khan speaks in the Senate.

File photo: Energy Minister Franklin Khan speaks in the Senate.

Energy Minister Franklin Khan has denied that the winner of a bid proposal to operate the Guaracara Refinery is a foreign entity.

In a statement seeking to clarify comments made by the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) during a conference at its Paramount Building, San Fernando headquarters on Friday, the Minister denied that the preferred bidder is known to Government.

He said OWTU leader Ancel Roget was trying to create an issue where none exists, by attempting to link certain statements made to the “spurious conclusion” that the winner of the refinery bid will be a foreign entity.

The Minister noted that a recent meeting in Point Fortin at which he explained why the country needed to exit the refining business, he and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley explained in full detail the rationale behind the new companies formed after the closure of the refinery.

“With regards to the refinery, we indicated that there was great interest from several entities and provided an update as per the status of the bidding process and approximately when a preferred bidder would be identified.”

“At no time, did the Honourable Minister of Energy and Energy Industries refer to any specific company, and never indicated, or even vaguely suggested, that the preferred bidder is known to the Government. As mentioned before, the meeting discussed purely policy issues,” the Minister explained.

Khan assured that the divestment of the refinery’s assets is being conducted in the most transparent and ethical way possible and the final decision will redound to the benefit of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Below is the full statement from Energy Minister Franklin Khan:

I refer to a news conference held by the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU), at its Paramount Building Headquarters in San Fernando yesterday Friday, June 28, 2019, and subsequent articles in the daily newspapers today, regarding statements made by the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, Senator the Honourable Franklin Khan, at the ‘Let’s Talk Energy Meeting’ in Pt. Fortin on Thursday, June 27, 2019. Mr. Roget attempted to create an issue, where none exists, by attempting to link certain statements made by the Honourable Minister to the spurious conclusion that the winner of the refinery bid will be a foreign entity.

For the records, the meeting dealt with policy issues. Both the Honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Christopher Rowley and myself, dealt extensively and in detail with the justification for the restructuring of Petrotrin, in particular, the need to get out of the refining business. We articulated the rationale to the nation for the new companies (Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd., Guaracara Refining Company Ltd., Paria Fuel Trading Company Ltd. and Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Ltd.). We outlined the optimistic and sustainable future ahead for the new company.

With regards to the refinery, we indicated that there was great interest from several entities and provided an update as per the status of the bidding process and approximately when a preferred bidder would be identified.

At no time, did the Honourable Minister of Energy and Energy Industries refer to any specific company, and never indicated, or even vaguely suggested, that the preferred bidder is known to the Government. As mentioned before, the meeting discussed purely policy issues.

The divestment of Petrotrin refinery’s assets is complex and part of a sophisticated process. The Government gives the assurance that it is being conducted in the most transparent and ethical way possible and the final decision will redound to the benefit of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

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