Trinidad rejects union proposal to take over refinery assets

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Trinidad rejects union proposal to take over refinery assets
The refinery at Pointe-a-Pierre that a company owned by the Oilfields Workers Trade Union proposes to acquire from the T&T State

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) — Government has rejected the proposal by Patriotic Energies and Technologies Company Ltd regarding the sale of the former Petrotrin oil refinery assets.

Energy Minister Franklin Khan explained that the proposal did not address key outstanding issues and, as such, Patriotic does not meet the criteria necessary to lead to a signed contractual agreement.

Khan was speaking during a virtual media conference yesterday, one day after Patriotic submitted its final proposal.

Patriotic, which is wholly-owned by the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), said in a statement on Friday that it hoped the proposal would lead to the swift completion of the acquisition process, paving the way to the re-opening of the refinery in the interest of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Khan said there were issues that needed to be addressed including environmental matters, statutory approvals and taxation issues.

He said the key issues surrounded purchase price financing, restart financing and the issue of first priority lien on the asset.

“After much to-ing and fro-ing, exchange of letters, and a series of meetings involved with the negotiating team, the Honourable Prime Minister, and the Honourable Minister of Finance, gave the parties an October 31 deadline to reach an agreement on the sale of the captioned assets,” Khan said.

“Patriotic, cognizant of what the key outstanding issues are, made a final proposal ahead of the deadline on the 29th of October. Today, I regret to say that his final proposal does not address the outstanding issues that could lead to a signed contractual agreement. And that is the state of play as we speak.”

Asked what specific requirements Patriotic failed to meet for its proposal to be accepted, Khan said this could not be disclosed as the negotiations are subject to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

He however assured that the government is committed to restarting the refinery with private capital injection and will move expeditiously to do so.

“At this point in time, the government will now be in a position to consider its options. And we’ll have some discussions among the government and the Cabinet as to what these options are and the population will be informed as soon as possible when we have greater clarity on this matter.”

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