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PM vows to fix Pertotrin
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is confident that T&T’s economy will begin showing signs of recovery within 2018.
In his first national address since the start of the new year, Rowley last night provided an update on the state of negotiations between T&T and Venezuela.
Harking back to the Heads of Agreement signed between Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro and himself in December 2016 followed by cooperation agreements in March 2017, Rowley revealed they were close to final sign-offs on a Gas Sales Agreement which would clear the way for operations of a pipeline from the Dragon Fields to the existing Hibiscus Platform involving PDVSA, NGC and Shell.
He said, “On completion of this historic bilateral development, the way will become clear for immediate access to 150m scf of much needed gas for the sustenance of our industrial plants in Point Lisas.”
Rowley continued, “Petrotrin has contributed significantly to the growth and development of T&T but is now in need of fundamental restructuring, which cannot be put off any longer.”
He revealed that a Cabinet-appointed committee, along with the new Board, had conducted various reviews of Petrotrin’s operations and identified structural problems which included, “Unwieldly operational structure and poor governance; declining crude oil production; declining productivity; escalating manpower costs; steadily increasing maintenance and capital costs; low refinery margins and poor asset quality.”
Continuing to provide the public with insight into the what the reality is, Rowley added, “A combination of these components with a 50 per cent decrease in the company’s revenues and a negative net working capital position has forced the company to resort to government-guaranteed revolving credit facilities to assist in the purchase of imported crude which is refined, at a continuous loss.”
Announcing that Petrotrin’s debt burden was now close to TT $15 billion, the Prime Minister said this included two loans amounting to US $850 million and US $750 million, which would mature in 2019 and 2022 respectively.
It was only last Wednesday that Cabinet received a series of presentations from the new Board on how Petrotrin would address the challenges in order to ensure its long-term sustainability.
Rowley said, “It is our intention to fix Petrotrin’s problems once and for all in 2018, so that the company can service its debt and taxes, thereby contributing to government’s revenue and the country’s development in the way that it should as well as providing job security for an adequate quota of high performing employees.”
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