Energy Minister Franklin Khan yesterday remained tight-lipped as to where the OWTU will get its funding to purchase Petrotrin’s refinery.
Khan spoke about the good news of OWTU buying the refinery, stating that he was pleased with the union’s offer.
“It was professionally put together. It was well researched and well structured.”
During the evaluation stages, Khan said there was a lot of talk as to who would get it (refinery).
“But the OWTU kept their cool....they kept their silence because they had signed a non-disclosure agreement and they honoured it religiously.”
Khan thanked the OWTU for their behaviour, stating that he would work closely with them to start up the refinery “hopefully by 2020.”
He also praised Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley for establishing the committee which the Government was heavily criticised for, as many felt there was “political interference.”
He said the PM had indicated that if the OWTU wanted the refinery they must make a bid that could “stand scrutiny and be economically robust.”
Insisting that the evaluation process had been “transparent,” Khan said the “proof of the pudding is now in the eating”.
He said OWTU will have full control and management of the refinery.
“They have proposed a sale of the refinery. So once that purchase agreement comes into place, bar certain specific parts of the clauses in terms of the concessions that Mr Imbert announced the refinery will belong to them.”
Khan said PETCL will sign an MOU, with Trafigura PTE Ltd, the second-largest international oil trader.
“I think they have hooked their wagon to something very good.”
Questioned by Guardian Media where the funding for the sale of the refinery will come from, Khan advised that we direct this question to the OWTU.
“They have put a plan forward. I don’t want to disclose that.”
Should the OWTU run into financial problems, Khan said “we will cross that bridge when we come to. But those are questions that are better put to Patriotic.”
Told that some people may see the move as an election strategy to win back the votes of the disgruntled trade union movement, Khan said the Government went through due process.
“There is absolutely no question that they had the best bid. They were the only people who had an upfront consideration of a whopping US$700 million.”
Khan said the Government and OWTU are now partners in this exercise.
“The OWTU has now gotten a very strategic national asset which we hope they can bring into operation in the shortest possible time.”
Once the refinery is back in operation, Khan said he hoped that the Marabella, Gasparillo, Point-a-Pierre and surrounding areas can re-generate economic activity.
The refinery has a capacity of refining 140,000 barrels of oil daily.
Told that the OWTU has been very critical of the Government, Khan said Patriotric was a private company and was not necessarily the OWTU.
“Obviously, the company will have its financiers, investors and investment bank. Why should we stay away from using Patriotic and the OWTU interchangeably?” he asked.