Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 6th 2014 Contents A11
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Workers at the Point Lisas
Industrial Estate were evacuated
to safe shelters on Thursday after
an ammonia leak was discovered.
Vehicles were blocked from
entering the compound and police
had to be called in to manage traffic
Ammonia leaks absorb all oxy-
gen in the air and can lead to death
quickly, president of the Steel
Workers Union, Christopher Henry
Warning alarms were sounded
which were triggered by above
normal levels of ammonia in the
air, Gizelle Crooks of Point Lisas
Industrial Port Development Cor-
poration (Plipdeco) marketing and
business development department
told the T&T Guardian.
She said the company s health
and safety department was alerted
of the leak and it was traced to
Crooks said within an hour the
ammonia levels had normalised
and the all-clear was given to
resume port operations and allow
Plipdeco s chairman Ian Atherly
said the situation could have been
much worse because of the exces-
sive amounts of ammonia leaked.
He said the company was always
monitoring emission levels and
was able to pick up on the leak
early and took all the necessary
actions to avert any disaster.
Henry said health and safety
regulations required that all work-
ers at companies on the estate be
provided with gas masks.
He said he knew some of the
companies gave their workers
masks but was not sure about oth-
ers.He said shortly after he got the
news of the leak he contacted the
union s workers at ArcelorMittal
Steel Plant to find out if they were
affected and was told they were
Henry said ammonia leaks were
"It s an odourless, tasteless gas
you cannot detect and which can
kill you fast.
"It sucks up all the oxygen in
Movement for Social Justice
(MSJ) political leader David Abdu-
lah has recommended an imme-
diate cut in advertising budgets
and a review of major construction
projects to align with the impact
falling oil prices is having on T&T.
Speaking at a press conference
held at MSJ s headquarters, St
Joseph Village, San Fernando, on
Thursday, Abdulah said the econ-
omy could be on shaky grounds if
the Government did not revise the
2015 fiscal budget and cut its exor-
bitant expenditure to create eco-
Abdulah said construction project,
including the Solomon Hochoy
Highway extension to Point Fortin,
should be reviewed, and review all
state contracts to weed out possible
Saying recurrent expenditure is
being used to build the highway,
Abdulah said if the Mon Desir to
Debe segment is halted, monies
could be saved.
"The supply of gas is lower than
the demand so many companies
are cutting back," Abdulah said. He
said Government had not spoken
about the implications of falling oil
prices on the foreign exchange mar-
"We need a full account on the
energy and petrochemical sector.
We need to look at worse case sce-
narios and address the need for
diversification," Abdulah said.
Lamenting that Government had
not followed through on diversifi-
cation proposals, Abdulah warned
that T&T would continue to be on
a downward economic spiral if that
was not addressed.
He boasted that the MSJ had pre-
dicted long ago that gas prices would
fall once oil prices declined.
"To the naysayers who accused
us of spreading doom and gloom,
we want to say that we will continue
to monitor this situation and speak
out about it," Abdulah said.
He added that the MSJ had been
meeting with the various chambers
of commerce, credit unions, busi-
ness organisations and trade unions
to discuss the situation.
MSJ on falling oil/gas price:
Cut advertising budgets,
review major projects
Ammonia leak scare at Pt Lisas estate
On Emancipation Day 2012
workers at the Point Lisas port
complained of feeling unwell
due to an ammonia leak caused
by a malfunctioning valve at a
PCS Nitrogen later reported
that several workers were
treated and discharged.
PCS Nitrogen is a subsidiary
of Potash Corp, the world's
largest fertilizer company.
There are four PCS Nitrogen
ammonia and one urea plant in
HISTORY OF LEAKS
THA Chief Secretary Orville London inspects goods on display at the Tobago's Own Rum Cream booth, with
manufacturer Denise Ransom, right, on Wednesday. The two-day exhibition was part of the THA's 34th
anniversary at the Parade Grounds, next to the Dwight Yorke Stadium. Also in photo, from, left, are Brigid
London, wife of the Chief Secretary, and Secretary for Finance and Enterprise Development Joel Jack.
PHOTO COURTESY: DEPT OF INFO THA
THA OWN RUM CREAM
On Wednesday, Energy Minister
Kevin Ramnarine appealed to
Petrotrin employees to work towards
building Petrotrin even as it faces a
total debt of $14.38 billion. He said
the only way forward was to increase
crude oil and gas production through
farm-out, lease arrangements and
joint venture programmes. Finance
Minister Larry Howai in a statement
last week to Parliament said that
Government ministries would be
cutting back on expenditure.
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