Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 27th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, December 27, 2013
President general of the Oilfields
Workers Trade Union (OWTU)
Ancel Roget says Petrotrin has iden-
tified the source of one of the oil
spills along the south-western
peninsula since Christmas Eve.
Roget called a news press confer-
ence at OWTU s headquarters yes-
terday where he showed two docu-
ments with Petrotrin s exploration
and production department Trinmar
Operations letterhead, pointing to an
oil leak at Trinity Field Brighton in
the Gulf of Paria.
Claiming the discovery of the oil
leak was being kept secret, he called
on Petrotrin to immediately shut
down the well.
"Last week we made the point that
it was a massive cover-up and the
top management of Petrotrin are fully
aware of where this oil leak is coming
He had claimed some government
members and top Petrotrin officials
had specific interest in the lease oper-
Recalling that the union had sug-
gested searches for the source of the
leak be conducted in the Brighton
acreages, he said there was a specific
person on the Petrotrin helicopter
tours, who kept guiding away from
The leak, he said, was only dis-
covered on Tuesday because that
individual was not on that tour.
He said a couple days ago the doc-
uments pertaining to the oil leak dis-
covery was dropped off in OWTU s
Quoting from one document, he
said Incident Commandant Wayne
Mitchell reported that "a large quan-
tity of oil was discovered around the
Trinity Platform at Brighton moving
in a southernly direction."
Roget said on further inspection
by Krishna Lutchman, manager
drilling and workovers, around 5.30
pm, Lutchman reported that a heavy
oil sheen was observed around plat-
form five and four.
The document further stated,
"Heavy sheen observed running in
direction S-N. Leak observed from
a casing conductor pipe. Platform-
9 oil to shore pump skid leaking oil.
mono pumps leaking at gland pack-
ing, oil falling into sea."
Roget said, "Those of us who know
offshore drilling operations will know
that once a leak is observe coming
from casing conductor pipe that is
as serious as can be because that is
"Therefore, the remedy for that is
to kill the well...All of this was report-
ed to Petrotrin the very afternoon
Tuesday, December 24. No informa-
tion about this was made available
to the public or the media.
"There is a absolute dead silence
as to the production of this report
which the company top management
is aware of as we speak."
In addition, he said, there was also
no oil spill containment infrastructure
at the Trinity Platform which is a
requirement of the Environment
Management Authority, OSHA and
the Ministry of Energy.
And no type of monitoring system
was in place. That was not surprising,
said Roget, as little or no maintenance
is done on offshore structures, poising
a risk to human life and environ-
"We call for an immediate and
proper attention to first of all the
stopping of that leak because no
amount of clean-up will suffice if we
didn t stop the leak, they must stop
the public relations and go immedi-
ately and kill the well and stop all of
"Trinity must do proper mainte-
nance to ensure that all of those facil-
ities are safe and all of this talk about
sabotage is nonsense." He reiterated
his call for elimination of lease oper-
ator and farm-out arrangements and
let Petrotrin produce its own oil.
The union is demanding that:
Proper and adequate compen-
sation and relocation to affected res-
Trinity be held accountable for
the oil spill
Asked if the oil spill could spread
to Venezuela if it is not contained,
Roget said it was possible.
He also called for a shake-up in
Petrotrin s board and management.
"Heads must roll," he said, adding
that was the only way there can be
change in Petrotrin s operations.
Roget also claimed the oil leak in
Rancho Quemado caused by an
opened valve was a ploy concocted
to divert attention from the Gulf of
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar and Energy Minister
Kevin Ramnarine were among a team
that visited the oil spill site in La
Persad-Bissessar said then the oil
spill was contained and clean-up
operation were almost complete.
Ancel Roget on oil leaks:
What caused a four-inch oil line
in "excellent condition" to rupture
at Rock River, Moruga, on Christ-
mas Eve is engaging the attention
of officials from Neal and Massy
Energy Resources Ltd.
And despite the pungent fumes,
residents said they were not adverse-
ly affected and were able to enjoy
This is the sixth oil leak within
two weeks---the first five occurring
along the south-western coastline,
causing havoc to the lives of residents
and on the environment.
Petrotrin officials claimed sabo-
tage, but the Oilfields Workers Trade
Union countered that poor main-
tenance was to blame.
When T&T Guardian visited the
community yesterday, there was a
high scent of hydrocarbon and small
deposits of oil were visible in the
river. Several dead fish were seen
floating in the river.
Clean-up operations were also in
Rudranath Dookran, operations
manager of Neal and Massy Energy
Resources Ltd, said the ruptured
line belonged to his company.
He explained that the company
was in a joint venture operation with
On Tuesday around midday, he
said, a four-inch transfer line, run-
ning from the company to Petrotrin s
main trunk line, ruptured.
"The cause is yet to be ascer-
tained. We are still investigating."
When asked whether the company
suspected sabotage, he said, "I don t
want to comment on that. There is
a lot of talk about sabotage going
around, it is being investigated."
He said, "It was an old line but
in excellent condition."
Dookran said they had repaired
the leak, but because of the flood
caused by heavy rain, the oil got into
the river and water courses. How-
ever, he assured that it was contained
and localised to that specific area.
He said no one complained about
feeling ill and no crops or property
were destroyed. "This is miniscule
compared to what s happening else-
Residents were also hired to assist
in the clean-up operations. Resident
Keith Noel said everything was
"We did not have any major
problem. Nobody is sick. We calling
and everything." Another resident
said he was satisfied with the
Dookran was optimistic by today
the scent would dissipate and clean-
up operations will completed.
Moruga MP Clifton de Coteau
said the situation improved since
Wednesday. "The oil flow is not as
thick in the river." However, he said
there was need for clean-up oper-
ations along the riverbank and some
residents complained about the
The minister was expected to
have visited residents around 5 pm
At a press conference at OWTU s
headquarters in San Fernando, yes-
terday, OWTU president general
Ancel Roget said the union received
a report on the incident yesterday
morning, but were not able to get
He assured, however, that the
union will closely investigate the
nature of the leak and what meas-
ures were put in place to contain
Neal and Massy Energy
launches probe in Moruga
Workmen from Neal and Massy Energy Resources Ltd survey a ruptured oil line in the Moruga forest
yesterday, which caused the death of fish in the river. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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