Patriotic explains 'delay' in refinery talks
Patriotic Energies and Technologies Company Limited is again seeking to set the record straight on reported delays in its acquisition of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in Parliament last Wednesday indicated that Patriotic had requested an extension on its bid for the refinery adding that Patriotic wanted to see the refinery and would do so this week with technical experts.
Then, Energy Minister Franklin Khan said Patriotic requested additional information, delaying talks.
In a statement on Sunday, Patriotic acknowledged that it was not uncommon for parties involved in a complex acquisition to have divergent perspectives in early negotiation.
Patriotic offered a chronology of each step in the acquisition process from June 2019 to present.
1. In June 2019, Patriotic submitted over 200 questions to the agents acting on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago during the RFP process.
2. In August 2019, the Government’s agents communicated to Patriotic that many of its inquiries would be addressed during the confirmatory due diligence process, which will begin next week.
3. On October 4, 2019 and again on November 4, 2019 in meetings with the Cabinet-appointed Evaluation Committee, Patriotic recommended that the following Working Groups be constituted to aid in the efficient advancement and completion of the acquisition process: i. Commercial - this group would treat with all issues of finance, and the corporate readiness of both parties for pre, during and post-acquisition integration; ii. Legal - this group would attend to all issues relating to the finalisation and execution of the Stock Purchase Agreement in addition to all title and contract related work to be done. iii. Technical - this group would collaborate on all engineering, logistics and environmental matters, etc.
4. In November 2019, Patriotic demonstrated its readiness by the timely, thorough and successful response to the ten areas of concern of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Patriotic has been ready to enter into the confirmatory due diligence exercise for at least eight months, since its original submission of inquiries in June 2019.
5. On January 15, 2020, Patriotic met with the Cabinet Sub-Committee of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago comprising of: Stuart Young, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Franklin Khan, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, Robert Le Hunte, Minister of Public Utilities and the Mr Vishnu Dhanpaul lead Cabinet appointed Evaluation Committee.
At that meeting, Patriotic discovered that the Sub-Committees were unaware of its communication with their agents made since June 2019 and again in August 2019 nor were arrangements made for the aforementioned Working Groups to be constituted by the Evaluation Committee.
6. On January 15, 2020, The Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs on that day issued a press release expressing their satisfaction with the meeting held and their optimism moving forward.
7. On January 17, 2020, Patriotic forwarded the June 2019 inquiries along with the recommendations of October 2019 and November 2019 to the abovementioned Cabinet Sub-Committee.
8. On February 12, 2020, Patriotic was advised by the Boards of Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited (‘Paria’) and Guaracara Refining Company Limited (‘Guaracara’) of the constitution of the recommended Working Groups recommended by Patriotic in October and November 2019.
9. On February 13, 2020, the Boards of Patriotic, Paria and Guaracara agreed to initiate a meeting with the Working Groups starting the week of February 17, 2020, and to collaborate on the creation of a detailed timeline for all residual requirements for the completion of the acquisition process.
Patriotic added that it remains focused on its mission to provide positive stimulus to the economy of Trinidad and Tobago via the creation of up to 4000 jobs during the refurbishment and restart exercise of the refinery and terminal.
“This will inject hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign exchange into our country and billions more when fully operational. As a net foreign exchange earner, Patriotic will have a positive impact on the nation’s balance of payments accounts contributing to the ease of doing business in Trinidad and Tobago,” the company said.