Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 11th 2014 Contents DECEMBER 2014 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
ENERGY | BG7
University lecturer Andrew
Jupiter is calling for public
consultations on Petrotrin
and for the country to
come to a consensus on
the way forward for the
state-owned oil company.
In an exclusive interview with the Busi-
ness Guardian, Jupiter said: "It has taken
us a long time but the moment has arrived
for us to make decisions about Petrotrin
and we need to have public consultations
on the issue because the company is too
big to be pushed aside and it belongs to
the people of T&T who must have a say
in its future."
His call comes in the wake of news that
the company will report a loss of over $340
million in its financial year ending Sep-
tember 30, 2014 and calls from at least
one petroleum consultant for the company
to come out of operating either the refinery
or its exploration and production business.
Jupiter, who is considered one of the
country foremost technocrats, has held
many positions including Permanent Sec-
retary in the Ministry of Energy, as a mem-
ber of Petrotrin s board and president of
the National Energy Corporation.
He also raised concern about the lack
on consultation with the Oilfields Workers
Trade Union (OWTU) saying the company
cannot make decisions without the union.
"Regardless to what some may say about
the union, it is because of Butler in 1937
and the union that the quality of life for
many in the industry improved. It is the
workers who built this industry and their
representatives cannot simply be pushed
aside," Jupiter told BG.
Saying he was born in the oil belt, the
former permanent secretary explained that
from its inception Petrotrin had major chal-
lenges. He explained that the company was
established as the government tried to save
the jobs of thousands in the industry.
With respect to the Pointe-a-Pierre
refinery---once owned by Texaco---Jupiter
said the refining business should be sep-
arated from the exploration and production
part of Petrotrin.
He said the refinery has never been prof-
itable since it was bought by the State and
that a modern refinery can be run by as
few as 100 employees and not the thou-
sands it now takes to operate Petrotrin s
Professor Jupiter said the issue was
whether the refinery could ever be made
profitable and if not, does the country need
He said: "More than 50 per cent of
Petrotrin s crude for the refinery is import-
ed. The difference between the price of
crude on the international market and
petroleum products is such that you are
unlikely to make money operating an inef-
"More than that your own crude on land
is heavy, below 18 API, therefore you have
too much bottom-of-the-barrel stuff. In
those circumstances you are unlikely to
make a profit."
He went on to say: "In the circumstances
I have explained the issue is whether you
can spend another billion dollars and
upgrade the refinery and make a profit, or
is it that you only need 23,000 barrels and
so you may need just a small refinery, or
are you doing it for Caricom when Petro-
Caribe has taken the market or is it you
just want to say you have a refinery?
"These are questions we have to answer."
Jupiter said Petrotrin is not a simple
problem and that the company was oper-
ating on land in which there are essentially
stripper fields. In those circumstances, its
operating costs are too high and it is why
the small independents with lower over-
heads have done so well in the striper fields.
His solution is to form Petrotrin workers
into companies, loan them capital and dis-
counted prices and allow them to produce
those fields and that the State should be
more of a manager of the wells.
Petrotrin s Khalid Hassanali said he was
clear in his mind what needed to happen
in Petrotrin but he did not feel that the
timing was right.
"I am clear in my mind what is needed
but the atmosphere now does not allow
me to speak on this issue," Hassanali told
Asked about the time and effort spent
on increasing oil production, Hassanali
spoke about the last two years showing
that Petrotrin had increased its production.
But when told that the figures show only
the farm outs and lease operators had, in
fact, made, gains while Petrotrin both on
land and in its Trinmar operations did not
add a barrel of oil in four years, the Petrotrin
president said the company had done well
to stop the slide.
"We have not stayed stagnant. What we
have done is stop the decline because prior
to 2010 there was a natural decline of fields
and we have arrested that decline."
The OWTU has been threatening strike
action in light of the company s announce-
ment of no increase in wages for the bar-
Jupiter: Consult public
on Petrotrin's future
Oil company bpTT has more than doubled its pro-
duction of condensate which has helped the country
to maintain its crude production of just over 80,000
barrels of oil per day ( bo/d).
The latest consolidated monthly bulletin of the
Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs shows that
for the month of September 2014 crude production
averaged 83,351 bo/d, the highest it has been for the
The figures also showed that condensate production
from bpTT increased to 15,079 bo/d or 18 per cent
of total crude production.
BPTT s condensate production is more than double
the 6,540 bo/d it produced in January and significantly
more than 9,287 bo/d it averaged in 2013.
This must be welcome news to the Ministry of
Energy and Energy Affairs which has been fighting
to increase crude production. In fact, in a release the
ministry noted that the country s oil production had
been buoyed by increased condensate output from
bpTT s Immortelle and Savonette fields.
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine had promised
to increase crude production when he first became
Energy Minister and during the last three years crude
production has significantly fallen.
Minister Ramnarine had also told a luncheon meet-
ing of the Energy Chamber at Cara Suites Hotel that
he expected that the increase in crude production
would come from the state-owned Petrotrin and in
particular its Trinmar operations.
He accused the Manning administration of not
focusing on exploration and production and, instead,
having all its concentration on a refinery and refinery
projects that have not been within budget nor on
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