Sunday 5 July, 2020

Petrotrin to meet with unions on Tuesday

Petrotrin will meet with its trade unions next Tuesday as part of a Memorandum of Agreement signed on April 4, 2018.

Petrotrin’s Board of Directors met with the Unions on August 28 to share its plans to curtail losses and get the enterprise on a path to sustainable profitability.

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A total of 1700 jobs will be affected by the decision to close Petrotrin’s refinery.

The Board plans to exit the oil-refining business and establish a new Exploration and Production company, as part of its plan to make the business viable and remove its dependence on the state.

Questions have been submitted to the Company by the unions ahead of the discussions.

The Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU), the Company’s majority bargaining unit has indicated that it would be tabling a counter proposal for the Board’s consideration.

Petrotrin Chairman Wilfred Espinet said the Board is willing to consider any alternative plan that would make the Company competitive, get it on a path to sustainable profitability, and enable it to refinance its debt.

“We are open to any solution that will result in a self-sustainable, commercially viable company. This is a business and its purpose is to provide a return for its owners, the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”

The Board’s plan will see Petrotrin phase out the oil refining business and begin to import the refined products (gasoline, diesel, aviation fuels, etc.) for Trinidad and Tobago and other markets within the region.

Trinidad and Tobago uses approximately 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in fuels. All of the Company’s oil will be exported.

Espinet again dismissed suggestions that the decision to exit the refining business would cause the price of fuel to increase on the local market.

“Petrotrin currently sells fuels to NP and its other customers at prevailing world market prices; that is not going to change. How would it? The Government of Trinidad and Tobago determines the price of fuel at the pump. One is a market driven number and the other is a policy decision. So there is absolutely no correlation between the two – people are trying to instill fear in the population to achieve their own ends.”

The decision was arrived at following months of careful review and analysis.

Petrotrin has lost over $8 billion in the last five years and is $12 billion in debt. The company also owes the Government more than $3 billion in taxes and royalties.


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