The joint venture proposal between the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union and Suriname-based Sunstone Equities to take over Petrotrin is not the company’s first foray into the local economy.
Sunstone Equities is joining forces with the OWTU to propose a long-term lease to own of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, scheduled to be shut down by the end of the month.
On Wednesday, John Van Dyke, represented the company at a media conference with president general of the OWTU Ancel Roget at the Radisson Hotel, Port-of-Spain. He described the refinery as “very viable”.
According to the company’s website, back in 2015, Sunstone Equities first bought out some 35 per cent of Zircon Minerals, and is expected to materialise a Can$1.2 million silica and aggregate sales by 2018/2019.
In 2016, the same company joined forces with the Unison Group in T&T and acts as a liaison group between government, private enterprise and China Railroad and China Harbour.
The company is also involved in a deal with United Merchant T&T with an anticipated sales of $600 million annually. On Wednesday the OWTU unveiled that Sunstone Equities and MAK England would partner with the OWTU to lease the refinery.
“It is a very profitable refinery,” Van Dyke said.
“I am not political, I am here to do a job,” he said.
He referred to the latest oil find in Guyana.
“We all know what is happening in Guyana, in Suriname they have a small, little refinery there, “ he said, adding that the find would have a positive impact on operations of the refinery.
“Trinidad has the lowest fuel rates in the Caribbean, those rates wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Petrotrin,” he said.
He said it was incumbent on the politicians to find out where the billions of dollars of leakages occurred at the State company.
He said there are major oil companies looking at business in this area.
He said they attempted to link up with US investing firm Morgan Stanley but then learned that another local group was already dealing with that company.
“We have discussions with Morgan Stanley, unfortunately, they have been hired by another group and is also looking at ravaging your asset,” he said.
He labelled those other interests as “piranhas”.
This group has included an initial payment to the government as part of their investment plan.
“This project is looking toward the future. This is a very viable project and you should not let go of it,” he said.
The second company, MAK England, was represented by its vice president Shaheed Khan who also gave some information on the proposed investment.
Khan said his company would offer top management and supply crude and logistics to Petrotrin.
“One of the things we would look at is bringing in one of the top teams to assist us,” he said.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had previously suggested the option for the union to operate the refinery but it had turned down the offer. The company is in the process of terminating all of the 5,000 plus workers and rebranding the company with a focus on exploration and production.