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In this November 2019 photo, Oilfelds Workers' Trade Union members applaud after the unveiling of the Patriotic Energies & Technologies Co Ltd logo at Radisson Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain. (Photo: Trinidad Express)

Government grants Patriotic additional days to secure financing for oil refinery

In this November 2019 photo, Oilfelds Workers' Trade Union members applaud after the unveiling of the Patriotic Energies & Technologies Co Ltd logo at Radisson Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain. (Photo: Trinidad Express)

The Trinidad and Tobago Government has given the company Patriotic Energies and Technologies  a second extension to prove its ability to purchase the Pointe-a-Pierre oil refinery.

In a statement late Wednesday, the Government acceded to a request from the company to rethink Monday’s Cabinet decision to seek another partner for the restart of the refinery.

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Finance Minister Colm Imbert, in his capacity as corporation sole, said the Government has granted Patriotic a 15-day deadline to secure financing for the refinery.

Imbert’s announcement on Tuesday that Cabinet had withdrawn from the offer, alluded to an inability by Patriotic to secure the US$500 million financial commitment to purchase the refinery — a claim the company has denied.

Patriotics have indicated that they have the financial backing of Credit Suisse to purchase the Petrotrin refinery (File photo)

“The corporation sole wishes to inform the public of the following Cabinet decision with respect to the acquisition of the Petrotrin refinery.

“By letter dated September 25, 2019, Patriotic was informed that it was the preferred bidder for certain assets of Guaracara Refining Co Ltd (Guaracara) and Paria Fuel Trading Co Ltd, (Paria).”

Imbert said the first item in the list of deliverables referred to in that letter, was “confirmation of its ability to finance the purchase and operation of the refinery”.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Finance Minister Colm Imbert (Photo: Newsday)

In response, Patriotic has vowed to do all it can this time around to convince Government it is indeed the best fit for the task at hand.

Patriotic, in a letter to Imbert dated January 18, insisted it had the backing of Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse to finance the acquisition price of US$500 million.

On Tuesday, Patriotic’s chairman, and president general of its parent company the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), Ancel Roget, called on the prime minister to consider information regarding the backing of Credit Suisse, which the Government may not have been privy to before Cabinet took its decision.

President General of Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union and Patriotics Chairman Ancel Roget (Photo: Wired868)

But a director of Patriotic, Ozzi Warwick, said, “We did make a request and they have acceded to our request for further discussions.”

Warwick said as the company has done in the past, it intends to meet every stipulation outlined, including the February 5 deadline and to, this time, sway Government to give them the rights to own and operate the refinery.

— CMC