Sunday 15 December, 2019

OWTU prepared to buy Yara plant

“If they are prepared to sell, we are prepared to buy.” 

The declaration comes from President General of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget, in relation to the announcement by Yara Trinidad Limited to cease operations at one of its ammonia plants at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate.

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Roget was at the time speaking at the launch of Patriotic Energies and Technologies logo at the Radisson Hotel, Port of Spain on Friday.

The plant, the smallest of three at the industrial estate has an annual production capacity of approximately 270,000 tonnes of ammonia. 

In providing reasons for the decision to close the plant, Yara noted lower ammonia prices have impacted the plant’s profitability as well as a failure to reach an agreement with the National Gas Company (NGC) to sustain its continued operations.

The plant’s closure is expected to affect 60 workers, but Energy Minister Franklin Khan in Parliament on Friday noted that Yara will try to as much as possible to employ these personnel at its partly-owned Tringen I and II plants.

The OWTU, which is the representing union for the affected employees, is expected to meet with Yara officials on Monday.

“In our discussions with the company we are going to let them know that we will want an opportunity to do our due diligence...to examine those assets,” he said.

“And if at the end of the day no other solution is found...if they are prepared to sell, we are prepared to buy,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Roget confirmed that the OWTU is close to sealing the deal on the acquisition of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. He said it was now a matter of things being formalised in writing. 

“It was last week that we responded to the ten points requirement of the Government announced by the Minister of Finance when he announced to the country that we were the preferred bidder… we would have delivered, satisfied all ten points of those requirements.”

“We are very confident that having satisfied all of those requirements, it is just a matter of time that the formal communication of our acquiring those assets will be delivered to us… it’s just a matter of time when this will be hand-delivered to us.”

The Union leader again stated that the union is not in receipt of any Government funding, but a “legitimate” financier who will remain unnamed due to a non-disclosure agreement.

Roget assured that when the refinery is restarted, the motoring public can look forward to a guaranteed supply of quality fuel. He also promised the availability of regular gasoline on the market, which is mostly used by fishermen.  

The OWTU was selected as the preferred bidder for the purchase of the refinery with a bid of US$700 million.

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