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OWTU: Plot to destroy Petrotrin

Published: 
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Petrotrin workers protest outside the Exploration and Production administrative offices in Santa Flora yesterday.

The Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union led hundreds of workers in a protest at Santa Flora yesterday saying a plot to destroy Petrotrin was underway by the Government and private lease operators.

It was the third day of protest outside the company following the return of Petrotrin worker Vidya Deokiesingh who is named in the fake oil scandal involving A&V Drilling after an internal Petrotrin audit found $80 million was paid for oil it did not produce.

Led by Branch president Theophilus Henry, the workers from the Exploration and Production (E&P) Department, Field Equipment Maintenance (FEM) Unit, Electrical, Well servicing unit, Lab, Production Unit and the Southern District Unit Seven walked off the job and held a meeting around 7 am outside the company’s Santa Flora quarters.

Saying Deokiesingh’s return could never sit well with the OWTU, the union’s executive said for too long Petrotrin workers have been deemed unproductive despite being clandestinely set up to fail by the company’s management. He said lease operators have been using Petrotrin’s equipment to farm-out fields and gain millions of dollars at the company’s expense.

Calling for a forensic audit on Petrotrin, Henry said, “Government wants to destroy Petrotrin and allow the lease operators to do farm-out and take all the jobs.”

Henry said the sabotage against Petrotrin was happening for years and workers had A&V Drilling to thank for bringing the situation to the attention of the public.

SEVERAL VACANCIES TO BE FILLED

OWTU’s branch secretary Dale Ramdeo said there were over 250 vacancies to be filled in the various E&P departments which include 30 in the electrical department, 30 in trunk pipeline, 30 in the garage and 10 in FEM.

He revealed that only three of Petrotrin’s wells were functioning, six company wells were down, while 15 contractor wells were producing oil using Petrotrin equipment.

Ramdeo said in the Well Servicing Department alone, where wells are cleaned and waxed for maximum productivity, there were 50 vacancies to be filled. He said manpower was so short that Petrotrin’s management was planning to remove one shift. He also said that the company’s equipment was being given to contractors to use free of charge.

“They undermining the system to show the lease operators as the producers and to show that Petrotrin as unproductive but how can we be productive if we have limited manpower and no equipment because the contractors using the equipment?” Ramdeo asked.

He also claimed Petrotrin’s managers had ordered that water be placed in oil tanks to bring up the production figures even though this created a further cost to Petrotrin. The water used to pump inside the oil tanks was needed for the steam generators and when the generators failed, production toppled, Ramdeo said.

Vice president of the branch Stephen Baxam said even though there were 50 Well Servicing vacancies managers taking away rigs and shifts from rigs.

A list of questions was sent to Petrotrin yesterday but no response was forthcoming. In a release last Friday, Petrotrin said it will continue to ensure that all workers remain safe on the job.