Thursday 5 December, 2019

Espinet, Wylie out: New Heritage Petroleum Board appointed

Cabinet has made changes to the Boards of Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Limited (TPHL), along with its subsidiary companies, Heritage Petroleum, Paria Fuel Trading, Guaracara Refining Company and Petrotrin.

The changes come a day after the Heritage Petroleum Board of Directors announced the appointment of an executive leadership team to work with CEO Mike Wylie while he undergoes treatment after undergoing surgery in the United States.

Wilfred Espinet was also removed as Chairman in the wide-sweeping changes at TPHL.

In a statement a day earlier, Heritage Petroleum Company Limited said Wylie, who has been away for the past two months, would continue to direct the company’s operations remotely with the leadership team, which would report to the Heritage Board of Directors.

The company further indicated that the new reporting structure would remain in place until Wylie’s return.

But, at the Post Cabinet media briefing on Thursday, Energy Minister Franklin Khan revealed that Cabinet approved changes to the board and general governance of TPHL and its subsidiaries, particularly Heritage Petroleum Company Limited.

Further, the company is now expected to find a new CEO, given Wylie’s health.

Commenting on the decision to fill the position immediately with a suitable permanent replacement, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the arrangement proposed by the Heritage Board was not going to work.

"That is not consistent with what we as Government think should be done. The company will not be run by any team of people over the next six months. We have identified someone to come in and run the Heritage Petroleum Company, someone with the kind of expertise that is required."

"We think the company is too important to the economy and country’s sovereign credit rating to allow a situation to continue where this gentlemen who was brought in at great expense, with high hopes who is now unfortunately through no fault of his own is ill - for this situation to remain in limbo," Imbert added.

Minister Khan took the opportunity to thank the outgoing board for their work in restructuring the company and refinancing of the US $850 million loan.

The new Heritage Petroleum board will be tasked with the responsibility of focusing on exploration, increased production and accelerated staffing.

It will also be tasked with settling any outstanding matters surrounding Wylie's employment.

The new boards are as follows:

Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Limited

Chairman, Michael Quamina, Deputy Chairman, Reynold Ajodhasingh and directors Anthony Chan Tack, Joel Harding, Selwyn Lashley, Eustace Nancis and Newman George

Heritage Petroleum Company Limited

Chairman, Michael Quamina, Deputy Chairman, Newman George and members Reynold Ajodhasingh, Joel Harding, Selwyn Lashley, Ryan Toby, George Leonard-Lewis and Peter Clarke and Reeza Salim

Petrotrin – (Legacy Company)

Chairman, Michael Quamina, Deputy Chairman, Reynold Ajodhasingh and members Anthony Chan Tack, Joel Harding, Selwyn Lashley and Eustace Nancis

Paria Fuel Trading Company

Chairman Newman George and members Eustace Nancis, Christine Sahadeo, Peter Clarke and Reeza Salim

Guaracara Refining Company Limited

Chairman Newman George and members Anthony Chan Tack, Peter Clarke and Christine Sahadeo.

Minister Khan noted that Heritage, which has received a higher price for its crude than before, has declared substantial profits in the last quarter.

He noted that Government considers Heritage the profitable part of the business, and regards it as the single biggest factor in accounting for the profitability of TPHL.

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