Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 12th 2013 Contents A10
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The board of the Petroleum
Company (Petrotrin) was
grilled yesterday on the impact
of cost overruns and proper
project management at yester-
day s Public Accounts (Enter-
prises) Committee sitting in
Senator Camille Robinson-Regis
chaired the committee, which
examined the audited financial
statements for the years 2008-
Among those who represent-
ed Petrotrin were its chairman
Lindsay Gillette, deputy chair-
man Aleem Hosein, director
Rudranath Maharaj and presi-
dent Khalid Hassanali.
The Gillette-led board was
installed in October 2010.
The Gasoline Optimisation
Programme (GOP), which was
discussed and which was orig-
inally scheduled to be completed
in 2008, moved from its original
budget of US$430 million to US
$1.4 billion, Hassanali told the
GOP is designed to increase
the overall gasoline yield of the
refinery, as well as improving
the quality of the gasoline prod-
uct to meet environmental spec-
Saying the additional cost of
the GOP was approved "every
step of the way by Cabinet"
Hassanali said there was also a
steering committee to oversee
Point Fortin MP Paula Gopee-
Scoon, who raised the issue of
budgetary exercises, questioned
whether that was realistic on
the part of Petrotrin, given the
fact that every year the company
endured some 20 to 30 per cent
of cost overruns.
"I expect with large projects
there will be overruns but from
one year to the next, are you
making errors with regard to
your projections?" Gopee-
In response Hassanali said the
concerns were valid, adding that
the board had embarked on sev-
eral initiatives to improve the
Those, he said, entailed not
only budgetary control but also
project management because
they were connected in terms
of the causes of the overruns
and also the various models used
for the procurement of those
He added: "We expect this
year we will certainly make
progress. The major projects are
largely behind us in terms of the
development of the refinery, save
and except for the ultra-low-
sulphur diesel plant.
"The rest are all behind us
and our focus from this year and
for the next few years is going
to be very heavily on the explo-
ration and production division."
Hassanali said the company
was expected to face challenges
in that area but it was "improv-
ing as it went along."
On the issue of ocean-bottom
seismic surveys, which have
caused concern to fishermen,
Gopee-Scoon said she was not
"sold on the idea" that Petrotrin
had made peace with them.
She added: "My own view is
that you have not come up with
a policy as to how Petrotrin is
going to treat with this com-
pensation matter and particu-
larily so because of the impov-
erished areas that are affected
and where fishing remains the
"To me you have always tried
to sideline the issue as though
fish will just migrate for one day
while you do your data in this
particular block and it will come
back the next day.
"I m not satisfied that you
have sufficiently and reasonably
explained why. I know you have
done so in the press but it seems
unrealistic to me."
Before the end of next year there will be a mar-
itime lockdown to prevent the inflow of drugs and
guns into this country, says National Security Min-
ister Gary Griffith.
In a telephone interview yesterday Griffith said
the Government had no intention of using any off-
shore patrol vessels (OPVs) but rather one long-range
patrol vessel, which was required to secure the coun-
try s economic zone from 12 to 200 miles.
Government has been criticised for cancelling the
purchase of three OPVs but Griffith maintained they
were not necessary.
In November 2012, arbitration between UK-based
BAE Systems and T&T over the cancellation of an
order for three (OPVs) was settled in T&T s favour
for $1.382 billion.
He said with such a high price tag the vessels were
not the best option to protect the coasts from guns,
drugs and illegal immigrants, especially as far out as
the southern and western peninsulas or the Gulf of
Griffith said eight fast patrol vessels would also
be acquired to protect the country s waters from the
border to two miles out. As to where the vessels
would be sourced, Griffith said that was yet to be
In November 2012, then national security minister
Jack Warner said the Government intended to buy
six naval vessels from the Colombian government
because that country had been most successful in
Griffith said there would be policies drafted with
the various units of national security to ensure T&T
was equipped with fast interceptors, coastal patrols
and hovercraft which would be specific to its needs.
"The interceptors now will be working in tandem
with the radar and the helicopters, so at any time
there is an alert about any illegal entry of any vessel,
we can then utilise the helicopters and the interceptors
to track and lock those vessels," Griffith added.
Members of the Public Accounts (Enterprise) Committee, from
right, Khalid Hassanali, president of Petrotrin, and the company's
chairman Lindsay Gillette at yesterday's sitting.
by end of next year
Griffith on inflow of drugs, guns:
on cost overruns
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