Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 12th 2017 Contents news A13
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 guardian.co.tt
here to stay
A week after energy giant
bpTT announced it's Ange-
lin platform would not be
constructed in this country,
Trinidad Offshore Fabricators
(TOFCO) has issued an eight-
page release highlighting it's
success with the Juniper pro-
In the release, which was in-
cluded in the Sunday Guardian
as a pull-out, TOFCO boasted of
it's technical capability, stating it's
workforce can compete with workers
anywhere in the world.
Giving an extensive recap of it's pro-
jects since it was formed in 2005, the
company's general manager, Javed
Mohammed, was quoted as saying,
"We organically grew a business in
a country where this fabrication
capacity did not previously exist."
"We brought industry best
practices to the country, organised
top talent and mentored young
people from the island on how to
perform this work. All the while
delivering on an impeccable safety
record- to date we have worked 7.5
million man hours without an LTI
(loss time injury.) This is an impec-
cable safety record and this is what
'world class' means."
But Mohammed lamented
that a lack of new projects can
threaten the sustainability of the
"However, the current emp-
tiness of the massive structure
at TOFCO's facility is a remind-
er of the threat a lack of projects
can have on the sustainability
of a company and the economic
livelihood of a community. It's im-
perative that we continue to attract
projects of all sizes in order to sus-
tain what has taken so many years to
build. Downtime without sufficient project
work stifles growth and harms our efforts to
further train skilled workers."
In a brief interview with Mohammed, the T&T
Guardian was told that the pull-out was not issued
because of the Angelin project.
Mohammed said the aim of the release was to re-
mind the national community that TOFCO is here
During a press conference last week, Minister in the
Office of the Prime Minister, Stuart Young, suggested
that bpTT's Angelin platform would not be fabricated
in Trinidad because of the tight timetable associated
with bringing natural gas from the offshore platform
to markets onshore.
Originally, the construction of entire Juniper plat-
form was awarded to the TOFCO fabrication yard
in La Brea---a US$2 billion job in total that required
the delivery of the juniper topside and jacket by De-
But throughout the first half of 2015, some La Brea
residents disrupted the progress of the job by blocking
the roads to the yard, chaining up the front gate and
demanding jobs. The fabrication yard also suffered
a delay in receiving a shipment of steel.
On July 16, 2015, a statement distributed by bpTT
said TOFCO decided to relocate the fabrication of the
jacket and piles to Gulf Marine Fabricators in Aran-
sas Pass, Texas, while the topside was completed by
Roget: No apology for
take your platform
and go statement
President general of the Oilfields' Workers Trade
Union, Ancel Roget, says there will be "no apology"
for his "take your platform and go," statement made
last Friday in reference to the decision by BP to
build the Angelin Platform outside of T&T. The
statement has been condemned by the president
of the Downtown Owners and Merchants Asso-
ciation (Doma), Gregory Aboud, who describes
it as "disrespectful."
Roget told the T&T Guardian that while protests
during construction of the Juniper platform have been
blamed for BP's decision on Angelin, "those protests
were because health and safety issues raised by workers
were not addressed, and BP did nothing to hold TOFCO
to account for failure to ensure proper health and safety
measures were taken."
His message to the Government and the authorities he
said is "don't blame us, don't blame the workers, blame
the Regulatory Authorities who
failed to do their jobs, the Occupa-
tional Health and Safety Authority,
and the independent arm of the
Ministry of Energy. They failed
to intervene to regulate and
to ensure the complaints of
workers were addressed. In
that scenario workers had
no choice but to protest."
During their protests
workers expressed concern
about poor grounding of shock
welds which they said could cause serious injury to
workers, and they also complained about issues with
Former energy Minister, Kevin Ramnarine, said as
a result of the protests BP lost 97 and had to split the
project in two, "BP decided to move to the jacket com-
ponent to Texas in mid-2015, in order to preserve the
In a weekend pull-out in the T&T Guardian TOFCO
admitted projects like Juniper "pose unique challenges."
But the company said it had overcome challenges on the
Juniper project and delivered the "historic project safely,
within budget and fully completed and pre-commissioned
prior to the scheduled sail away date."
TOFCO said even with the aggressive schedule "neither
safety nor quality were compromised." It said global bench-
marks "were exceeded by working more than two million man
hours without a lost time incident."
General manager of TOFCO, Javed Mohammed, said the company
had looked forward to "leveraging this success to secure future projects." BP
has said that while the Angelin Platform would be built elsewhere it was open
to doing future projects in Trinidad. But the company said "competitiveness
factors such as productivity," would be worked on with local service providers.
Aboud, in a letter to bpTT described Roget's comment "to take your rig and
go," as representative of "defiant glee," and it was "simply thoughtless to be so
ill-mannered to a visitor to our country or an investor in our economy," he said.
Aboud said Roget may actually see his remarks "as fulfilling his role on behalf
of his members unaware that roles have changed and now, critically what is
required is to save jobs as well."
He said statements like "take your rig and go" are a throwback to a time of
"militant opposition to any foreign enterprise operating in Trinidad and Tobago."
Aboud was concerned that while the world had changed, some people had
not, "such disrespectful behaviour" he said is a tool from the past which was
"successful in winning temporary advantage for those few whose first resort
are threats and aggression."
Roget said the preamble to the constitution states that labour must not be
exploited for economic gain "and we are saying to BP and other multi-nationals,
when you come to our shore you obey our laws. We are not prepared to sacrifice
life and limb for economic gain. All we asking is that when an investor comes
that the Government ensure that the regulatory agencies stand up and do their
work. But they have failed us."
At a post cabinet news conference last week minister in the Office of the
Prime Minister Stuart Young said, "T&T needs to understand it's in a glob-
al environment, competing for capital expenditure with other nations. As a
country we need to act responsibly to make it in a competitive environment
where we can attract investment and ensure jobs."
" That's the mantra going forward. There's been a number of warnings and
red flags and as a country we need to do what we can for T&T," Young said.
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