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Extractive Sector
Can Petrotrin be saved?

Can Petrotrin be saved?

Date: September 15th , 2017

Can Petrotrin be saved?

Caroni 1975 Ltd. was caught paying for cane that it never received. Today, we learn of another internal fraud in the buying of Petrotrin’s petroleum products which may, if thoroughly investigated, amount to hundreds of millions, maybe billions of dollars!
There can be no environmental sustainability if there is no economic stability. State owned Petrotrin is an ongoing national disaster which our Government continues to endorse, support and subsidize at the expense of us tax payers. The burden of Petrotrin’s ongoing financial and environmental disasters are borne by the public, yet we the public are locked out of the “politically interfered” decision making on the operational safeguards and future of this dirty and dying dinosaur that except for two oil boom years, has never turned a profit. Ask yourself, who is really benefiting from Petrotrin?
The “fake oil” fiasco is just the tip of Petrotrin’s corruption iceberg! Corruption scandals and gross mismanagement have plagued this facility almost from inception. Except for the unusual boom years of 2011 and 2012 (when oil was 145+ USD per barrel), Petrotrin, our most valuable state owned enterprise with the most economic potential has hemorrhaged our economy. Now we know why!
Who is checking the record of oil and gas deliveries and receipts to each of Petrotrin’s local and foreign customers and suppliers, contractors and farm out operators? What prices do Petrotrin currently pay for each and all of its goods and services and how do those prices compare to the rates paid by the private sector for the same of comparative goods and services?
One clear loophole that management at the highest level has ensured is that Petrotrin still uses handheld dip sticks to measure deliveries and receipts instead of mechanical fool proof technically competent gauges that keep precise records of measurement of volume in an unalterable way. Human error in the dip stick measurement of what is received or delivered arguably cannot be held to be culpable simply because the crude archaic tool is susceptible to error … and they know it. Is that an accident or an alibi?
Today BWIA/Caribbean Airlines(CAL) still loses millions upon millions each year despite the best of Chairmen? Is Petrotrin any different to Caroni 1975 Ltd or any of the state interfered companies which continue to defraud our people? Who paid Petrotrin’s 4.5 Billion TTD loss in 2016? Can extinct behemoths be turned around? Will this PM have the courage to face this propped up yet dying monster?

Despite Petrotrin’s complete control and monopoly over all the shallow most lucrative oil fields, we are being forced to finance this failing state enterprise who have no shame in posting a 4.5 Billion TTD loss, which omits to measure the billions in annual revenues and earnings that have been pillaged. Could Petrotrin raise funding to finance its operations if our people, our Government, our treasury did not stand guarantee? Based on Petrotrin’s mismanagement, financial and corruption track record, should we as a nation, at this time of global energy collapse, be investing another 15 Billion to upgrade the failed oil refinery.
The new Board would be well advised to appoint several independent forensic auditors to investigate all purchases and sales, or any procurement whatsoever while at the same time examining the frightfully underpriced royalty values which Trinidad and Tobago currently obtains from our marine territory.

Petrotrin’s annual losses surpass the total annual import bill of Massey Stores (234MTTD) and PriceSmart (534MUSD) put together. Just imagine, if the Petrotrin noose is released all of Massey Stores and PriceSmart’s goods could be given free each year or each living citizen, man, woman and child could be given 4000TTD per year for free with the saved losses.

As we face major global energy supply adjustments in an ever changing and more competitive world environment can we afford to risk national welfare for the sake of one more blatantly corrupt mismanaged and vandalized state enterprise?

Gary Aboud
Corporate Secretary

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