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Oil spill flows into Venezuela waters

Sunday, April 30, 2017
Energy Minister Franklin Khan.

Despite mop-up operations by Petrotrin following an oil spill two Sundays ago which saw 300 barrels of oil leaking into the sea, the oil has crossed into international waters and has reached the eastern coastline of Venezuela.

This was confirmed by Energy Minister Franklyn Khan who said a local team will be dispatched to Venezuela either today or tomorrow to liaise with Venezuelan counterparts to assess the situation and determine in detail what the clean-up campaign entail.

The oil was leaked from a ruptured storage tank at the Pointe-a-Pierre Refinery into the Guaracara River and the Gulf of Paria on April 23.

In a telephone interview last night, Khan said, “The oil has reached the Eastern Venezuelan coastal.

“It has affected Isla De Patos, just off Guira, a town on the eastern side of Venezuela. Because of that, that has put a whole new spin on things because it has crossed the international boundary.

“We have initiated what we have in place called the T&T Venezuelan Bilateral Oil Spill Plan through the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs.

“On the operational level, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industry is also liaising with Petróleos (the State-owned Venezuela oil company. At this point in time the Venezuelans are very cooperative and understanding.”  

Khan said both countries are jointly working on clean-up efforts and the Venezuelan Air Force had been sharing aerial shots of the affected area to determine the trajectory. He acknowledged that Petrotrin has been doing “very well” in containing the spill in Trinidad, but this was a different matter. He said the ministry and the Venezuelan authorities will continue to monitor the situation.