Saturday 28 November, 2020

Petrotrin closed; $2.7 billion paid out to workers

Refining operations at State-owned oil company Petrotrin have officially come to a close.

Speaking in Parliament this afternoon, Energy Minister Franklin Khan confirmed that all plants have been safely shutdown and all hydrocarbons removed.

He assured that the shutdown, which he described as “routine operations” was supervised by the Environmental Management Authority to ensure that everything was safe.

Asked about rehiring of retrenched staff at the new entities replacing Petrotrin, Khan indicated 16 former employees in senior and middle management were rehired at Heritage Petroleum Company Limited; while two former employees were rehired in senior positions at Paria Fuel Trading Company.

At the third company, Guaracara, the Minister said there would be limited employment, however, hiring will take place shortly.

Benefit statements have been issued to all employees to the tune of $2.7 billion, which represents exit and other payments.

The payments comprised $1.8 billion in termination packages; $201 million for outstanding vacation; $150 million for medical and other benefits; and $55 million in payments for outstanding promotions.

3,400 permanent employees reportedly received exit payments and 1,229 or 55 percent of the company’s temporary workers received ex gratia payments.

Petrotrin Chairman Wilfred Espinet said it was an understandably difficult period for all of those affected.

“This is a difficult time for all concerned and we hope that everyone affected is able to establish a positive and secure future for themselves.”

To avoid potential delays in disbursing the payments, Petrotrin has withheld the employees’ potential tax liability and placed these funds in escrow.

The Company will remit the withheld funds once employees have satisfied the Board of Inland Revenue that their taxes are up-to-date.

Following the closure of operations, the Company will continue to ensure that affected persons and their families will have access to support services for the next six months – services will include stress management, change management and financial counselling.

Requests for Proposal for the operation of the refinery are expected to go out shortly. 


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