PURE mischief! Energy Minister Franklin Khan said, while Heritage chairman Michael Quamina said: “This is not only fake news, but old fake news”.
Both men were referring to an article on an anti-government Venezuelan blog, called Venezuela Politica which claimed to have a document that proved that Heritage had violated US sanctions against PDVSA.
Quamina stated that the article was premised on the same fabricated document that surfaced a few weeks ago, which was dealt with by the minister of energy in a statement in Parliament.
“It can be dismissed outright simply when one considers that the vessel referred to cannot even fit into our berths”.
Khan said the documents referred to in the article were falsified documents.
He said: “The following discrepancies are noted which indicates that this document is not authentic:
• Heritage loaded two cargoes in the month of July 2019, both of which were destined to the United States. Cargo volumes were approximately 578,000 and 495,000 barrels which matches our production volume.
• The ship MT ALBORAN has never called at the port of Pointe-a-Pierre based on our records.
• The draft at Pointe-a-Pierre would not accommodate such large ships to remain safely afloat. The maximum draft of the berth at Pointe- a-Pierre is 15.8 metres, whereas the draft of this vessel MT ALBORAN is 20.3 metres. This information on the MT ALBORAN has been obtained from our global ship tracking software.
• The maximum Length Over All (LOA) at #6 berth is 290 metres. This vessel has a LOA of 332.97 metres and cannot fit at our berth;
• The maximum current crude volume that can be loaded at Pointe-a-Pierre is 693,000 bbls. This document is for a vessel that shipped 830,000 bbls.
• Heritage invoice numbers do not start with HPCL.
• Crude is not loaded from tanks 110 and 129. Tank 110 has been out of service since 2018 and Tank 129 was in Vacuum Gas Oil service until June 2020 and could not be used for Crude Oil .
• We are not aware of the company “Distribuidora USAM”
• The document in circulation appears to be a Caricom invoice which is only required to be completed for sales to Caricom countries not for non-Caricom countries.
• The signature on the document does not match any past or present Heritage employees.
The article claimed to have a certificate issued on July 10, 2019 by the Trinidad and Tobago state oil company, which the article erroneously refers to as “Hermitage Petroleum Company”, which showed how Trinidad and Tobago had violated sanctions imposed by the US on those who establish negotiations with PDVSA and with the Nicolas Maduro regime.
The document indicated that 830,000 barrels of crude from Trinidad were transported to China. The article claimed that the “characteristics expressed in the document coincide with the scheme that was designed and organised since mid-2019 by the former PDVSA board...to violate the Treasury Department sanctions.
The Government has repeatedly denied that it has violated the US sanction policy. It has had to do so after reports surfaced in April that 150,000 barrels of fuel which was headed to Aruba, allegedly ended up in Venezuela, through ES Euro Shipping SA, a company registered in Switzerland and owned by Jose Guillermo Ruperti.
As late as May, Prime Minister Keith Rowley, in denying that Heritage had sold fuel to Venezuela, dismissed statements by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar which called on him to come clean on the “possibly illegitimate fuel shipment”.