Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 4th 2014 Contents DECEMBER 2014 • WEEK ONE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG5
State-owned Petrotrin should
get out of the operating both
its refinery and as an explo-
ration and production com-
pany and sell off the majority
of its assets to the private
sector. This is the view of petroleum con-
sultant, Dr Krishna Persad, who said the
company should not be allowed to continue
in its present form.
In a telephone interview with the Business
Guardian, Dr Persad---who has worked in
the energy sector for more than four
decades---said the company needed to find
a partner for the refinery and let that partner
operate the Pointe-a-Pierre-based entity.
"They have talked about getting a partner
for some time and it is the only way to go.
Every project that Petrotrin has undertaken
to improve to financial viability of the refinery
has come in over budget and very late. What
has happened to the ultra-low sulphur diesel
"The gasoline optimisation project came
in late and billions over budget and that is
part of the problem. If they had the ultra-
low sulphur diesel plant they would not have
been suffering as much on the margins from
Dr Persad s suggestion of Petrotrin coming
out of the oil and refining business comes
as the company s President Khalid Hassanali
announced that the company was expected
to declare a loss of over $360 million for the
fiscal period 2013/2014.
Both Hassanali and Energy Minister Kevin
Ramnarine have blamed the poor perform-
ance of the refining and marketing arm of
the business on the US shale revolution in
which tight oil has meant a significant
increase in crude production and, therefore,
challenges at Cushing resulting in US refiner-
ies getting discounted crude. This, they said,
has already led to the closure of two
Caribbean refineries. The solution: an increase
in domestic oil production. However, figures
from the Ministry of Energy and Energy
Affairs show that, despite the effort and talk
and record prices, Petrotrin has not increased
its production from either Trinmar or onland
by a single barrel since 2010 to present.
Dr Persad said Petrotrin also had to get
a partner to build a bottom-of-the-barrel
converter because 30 per cent of the oil from
Trinmar and onland remains as fuel oil.
"All that heavy oil coming out of Trinmar
and onshore, when it is converted, 30 per
cent is fuel oil and bitumen. That needs to
be upgraded and that process has to be accel-
On the issue of exploration and production,
Dr Persad said it was not surprising it was
the independent producers who---through
joint ventures, lease out, farm-in and other
arrangements---allowed for the increase in
Dr Persad said even if the assets of Trinmar
were not sold, there needed to be an operator
from the private sector; one with the capital
to invest in increasing production.
"I have been saying for some time that
Petrotrin needed to simply have a few board
members and some employees to look after
the collection of royalties and so on from
He explained that whoever gets the acreage
must have the funding; the technical expertise
and Petrotrin must insist they commit to
enhanced oil recovery (EOR).
The petroleum consultant said Petrotrin
had to insist on EOR and give out acreages
to facilitate the process of reducing the
amount of oil that is left in the ground.
"Part of the problems is there are a lot of
employers who do not want it to be public.
We have investigated a lot of fraud in businesses
where they find out about it and where we
drilled to find out the amount. I recall one
case where it was by an employee who was
at the business for 25 years. They thought the
amount stolen was about $5,000 to $10,000.
Halfway through the investigations we got the
person to confess it was $30,000. We con-
tinued and it then came up to $95,000. The
recommendation of Global Forensic Institute
was that the matter should be reported to the
police. The organisation took the decision they
did not want to report it."
He said the company decided to work out
an out-of-court settlement with the employ-
"After 25 years of service it means the com-
pany knows the employee well. They know
the employee s family, they know the employ-
ee s children. So they worked out an agreement
that the employee would pay it back over time.
We told them that never works because the
agreement is based on trust. Chances are, they
will break it again."
He urged companies to be "proactive."
"I normally recommend to companies to
take a fraud check up which means test your
"Global Forensic Institute offer these services
and, during Fraud Awareness Week, we were
offering it for free. Once your company gets
the report, then it is up to you to decide what
you want to do. Based on that we can make
recommendations on how to tighten it up and
what to do. If a company does not report it,
the employees that are still there and have
not done anything wrong will get the wrong
signal. Companies need to set the standard,"
Fraud under reported
He said reported statistics are way below
how prevalent fraud really is in the country.
"For every case reported, it is said there is
a much higher percentage than that which
was not reported because people are afraid
and they accept their results. One business
owner said recently that as a retailer they
expect fraud and simply factor it into the pric-
ing. This sounds shocking which means the
consumers pay for that," he said.
He said there are times of the year, where
particular types of fraud are committed.
"You will see the issuing of forged cheques
popping up around this time of the year.
Because people are looking to buy a lot of
items and people want to make money and
meet targets for the end of the year. By now
people should know that you do not take a
cheque for a large amount of money on a
Friday afternoon because there is no way to
verify with the bank before Monday and, by
Monday, fraud has already taken place," he
He urged businesses owners and people in
general to be always aware of cases of fraud.
"There is a lot of legislation to deal with
this. As a normal citizen always be on alerts
for potential fraudsters. There are organisations
like Global Forensic Institute that can help.
Look out for issues with company documen-
tation, land transactions, people coming with
"Regardless what the product is the business
model is the same. They tell you if you sell
so much for them you get points and with
these points you get trips over seas and other
false claims. Those are some of the main types
of fraud we see popping up a lot," he said.
Global Forensic Institute:
GFI has been in operation for ap-
proximately five years, originally as
part of Going Global Ltd. Its services
include asset tracing, document ex-
amination, anti-money laundering
and counter terrorist financing com-
According to their online brochure,
they provide practical and cus-
tomised educational sessions which
will inform the organisation's conti-
nuity plan and minimise their suscep-
tibility to fraud and strengthen their
anti-money laundering as their work-
force is made cognisant of fraud.
Occupational fraud under reported
From Page 4
partner to run refinery
Links Archive December 3rd 2014 December 5th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page