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Tewarie: Petrotrin assets to be audited

Monday, August 4, 2014

Following two oil spills, which has already cost state-owned Petrotrin millions of dollars and affected the national revenue earnings, acting Energy Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie said the Government has agreed to audit all the assets of the oil company to determine its integrity. He said the substantive minister Kevin Ramnarine brought a note to Cabinet to have the assets of the company audited and Cabinet agreed to have it done. The minister said this at last Thursday’s post-Cabinet  news briefing held at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital.

Tewarie confirmed that the infrastructure built to protect the contents of the storage tanks at the 100- year-old Petrotrin Refinery, were not built to engineering design specification and this would have contributed to the oil spill when Tank MP6 , which was built in 1962, developed a leak last week Tuesday. Tewarie also said it is possible that condition of the tank might have been flagged before but nothing was done.

Tewarie said this spill has raised the issue of managerial responsibility. He said after this oil spill is cleaned up, the board of management will have to do some stock taking in order to proceed forward. The minister said there were two safety measures to prevent the oil spill, a concrete wall and an over flow pond. Some 5,000 barrels seeped into the Guaracara River, Petrotrin confirmed.

Since the leak, five people have been treated at Petrotrin’s Augustus Long Hospital at Pointe-a-Pierre, Tewarie said. The minister said he visited the with Petrotrin president Khalid Hassanali and other officials and the company’s instruction was that the people should be their primary focus . However, he said from the inception officials were on the ground providing meals, comfort and medical care to those affected by the fumes.

Following the December 17 oil spill last year, Petrotrin was fined  $20,000 by the EMA for violation of their handling of the situation. Asked if the Environmental Management Authority is also investigating this spill, Tewarie was cautious. “I will not say an investigation.”
He said the situation is being monitored by the EMA and if any wrong doing is uncovered, the EMA will act accordingly. Responding to the spill yesterday, Singh said he was out of the country at the time.


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