THE Ministry of Energy said yesterday that it is focused on restarting the Pointe-a-Pierre oil refinery, which was the main objective of a meeting yesterday between Patriotic Energies and Technologies Company and the Government.
In a news release, the Ministry described the meeting as “very productive,” and that the next steps are the establishment of dedicated teams on both sides to achieve the refinery restart as well as a detailed inspection of the assets in the transaction.
Coming out of yesterday’s meeting, which was held at the Ministry of Energy’s offices at the Waterfront Complex in Port of Spain, the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), which owns Patriotic, disclosed that the company had been selected by the Government as the exclusive entity working towards the restart of the refinery.
The trade union also confirmed that the restart would be based on an inspection of the assets to be acquired. Questioned on the cost of the inspection of the refinery and the timeline for its completion, an OWTU official, who attended yesterday’s talks, said: “We can’t say what the cost would be because we are undertaking a tendering process to get the inspection done.”
The trade union official said Patriotic will pay for the inspection, which is expected to take between two and three months to complete, once a bidder is selected and a contract signed.
The meeting was between a Patriotic team and their international advisors and members of the evaluation committee and a Cabinet sub-committee comprising three ministers: Stuart Young in his capacity as Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister of Public Utilities Robert Le Hunte and Energy Minister Franklin Khan.
In its statement, the Ministry of Energy said: “As we seek to finalise the transaction there would be continued dialogue between all parties with a view to achieving restart of the refinery within the earliest possible timeframe which would redound to the benefit of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Patriotic was selected as the preferred bidder for the Guaracara Refining company and Paria Fuel Trading Company by Cabinet on September 20, 2019. Patriotic won the bid ahead of two international companies, Beowulf Energy and industrial commodities conglomerate Klesch Group.
In announcing Patriotic as the preferred bidder last September, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the company would be given one month to present to the evaluation a committee “a satisfactory and comprehensive work plan.”
The plan was supposed to provide guidance on the following:
• Confirmation of its ability to finance the purchase and operation of the refinery;
• a draft sales and purchase agreement and various other commercial agreements including of crude handling, domestic fuel supply, natural gas supply, product offtake, and transition support;
• a finalised business plan that addresses other key deliverables inclusive of the provision of a guaranteed, reliable and seamless supply of refined petroleum products to T&T and the Caribbean region, ensuring the long-term viability of the refinery, and reducing its carbon footprint;
• a statement of any fiscal incentives or tax concessions required from the Government;
• an approach to any historical environmental liabilities;
• a refinery start-up plan which involves any necessary additional work inclusive of the refinery refurbishment plan and the terminal start-up plan;
• a plan for the supply of petroleum products during the transition to full operationalisation by Patriotic of the refinery, inclusive of the finalisation of an MoU with Trafigura PTE Limited;
• a suitable staffing plan inclusive of senior management;
• proof of qualification to engender the start-up and performance enhancement processes for the new business as well as the evaluation of growth opportunities to deliver solutions that integrate information,
analytics and insight, to solve client challenges at all points along the energy value chain; and
• approval from the Board of Directors of Patriotic for the definitive terms and conditions of the proposed transaction.