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Focus on spill, not spin

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine’s optimistic forecast for T&T’s energy sector for 2014 is very much at odds with the major spill that continues to inflict a severe economic and environmental toll on the country. While Mr Ramnarine, quoting extensively from a recent Standards and Poors report, is predicting that this year will be one of the busiest for the sector in more than 30 years, those projections could easily be reversed by the fallout from last month’s multiple oil spills. 


The thick black crude oil still blanketing large sections of Trinidad’s southwestern coastline represent hundreds of barrels of oil down the drain and revenue losses for state-owned Petrotrin. It is also clear that the fallout will extend well beyond the geographic range of the spill, with major losses likely for several downstream and marine-based industries. It does not help that a technical report on the spill, carried exclusively in the T&T Guardian over the weekend, shows that ageing and poorly maintained infrastructure at Petrotrin may have been a causal factor. One of the many burning questions that needs to be answered is what lessons, if any, did stakeholders in this country’s energy sector learn from BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010?