Heritage Petroleum Company CEO Mike Wiley was “on the ground” yesterday visiting Santa Flora locations to ensure the security of installations as the company began work.
Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Company (TPHC) chairman Wilfred Espinet confirmed the situation to the T&T Guardian following Wiley’s first official day of operations.
On yesterday’s overall start-up of operations of the restructured entity, following the official shutdown of Petrotrin last Friday, Espinet said, “There was no interruption of operations and the transition went off without event. The respective planned activity of all the new companies went off without hitch and we’re now concentrating on ensuring that these operations are at the level of efficiency they were designed for.”
The TPHC is the holding company which succeeded Petrotrin following closure of the latter’s operations last Friday and start of the restructured energy entity last Saturday. Apart from Heritage Petroleum, the Paria Fuel Trade company (which is handling fuel trading/bunkering) also began operations. The third entity, Guaracara Refining company which covers the now-defunct refinery assets, is not in operation. Damus Ltd is currently in charge of supervising the GRC.
Espinet said the Heritage’s operations include the operation of a number of wells under the company’s control while there are contractual production-sharing arrangements with other parties.
At the Heritage plant yesterday, Wiley, who also met with his management team, had been ensuring all sites were safe following certain incidents last Friday with some outgoing workers. But Heritage officials described those cases as “isolated minor” incidents where “a tyre was slashed and the like,” but there was no co-ordinated action. Security has been increased at all company locations since the situation and there have been no more incidents.
Also, immediately from last weekend’s lift-off date, the Paria Fuel Trading Co Ltd commenced terminalling operations. Road tank wagons took on board fuel for vehicles, kerosene and diesel for distribution all weekend. Tanker-loading of crude oil was also started over the weekend.
The vast majority of Paria employees - just over 200 - are contracted workers, during this period while the entity continues to be fully staffed.
At the Guaracara Refining Company, where Damus Ltd is ensuring refinery preservation, maintenance and supervision, Espinet said there have indeed been a number of queries about the refinery. from interested parties
“But we’re not involved in this (yet), those things have a lesser priority than the safe operations of the new companies which started,” he said.
“Damus will be on site at the refinery until we issue the Requests for Proposals internationally for offers of interest in the refinery. We’re concentrating on getting the required expertise to help us institute the RFPs. I’d hope the process will start soon and the RFPs may be out by January.”
Meanwhile, officials of the TPHCL holding company said payouts have been done for all salaries, termination backpay, outstanding vacation payments and payment for processed promotions also.