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Espinet: Petrotrin must abide by WGTL deal

Published: 
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The current board of Petrotrin did not sign the agreement with Niquan Energy for sale of the World Gas to Liquids Plant (WGTL) at Pointe-a-Pierre, but chairman Wilfred Espinet said there is nothing they can do other than to “abide by what was agreed to.”

“If there is a legal agreement between the company and some other entity, the company has to maintain the legal agreement or it will be challenged legally,” he said.

Espinet dismissed claims by the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) that the assets of the state owned energy company are being sold out.

“This board has made no determination at all about selling out any assets,” he said.

OWTU President General Ancel Roget claims Niquan Energy was formed with the specific aim of acquiring the WGTL, “which they did despite not having any track record.”

Espinet said while the WGTL may have been a bad investment decision for Petrotrin, and the question is whether the agreement for the sale is another bad investment decision, a legal agreement cannot be reversed,

In response to Roget’s claim that there is an exclusivity agreement where Petrotrin will purchase gas from the National Gas Company, Espinet said: “That is a big question you are asking.”

In an interview with the T&T Guardian in 2016, Niquan’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs Malcolm Wells said NGC will earn revenue for the 25 year economic life of the project. He added that T&T “will get a return on its US$450 million investment without any further cash investment by the government and there will be access to clean, high quality fuel which will benefit the consumer and the environment.”

Asked how Petrotrin will benefit from the WGTL, Espinet said: “To be honest we have asked people to present us with such a narrative to show us where it is we are going to benefit from the agreement but you see we don’t have a right to determine that at this stage. We have to stay with the agreement that is legally in place or push the company into a legal battle costing you more money again.”

Once it begins operations, the GTL plant will produce 80 per cent diesel and 20 per cent Naptha. Wells said Petrotrin will be responsible for marketing those products.

Niquan officials have not revealed details of the commercial deal for acquisition of the plant which it reportedly acquired for US$35 million.

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