Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 23rd 2014 Contents A5
February 23, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
State-owned Petrotrin is facing
another financial challenge, as there
are reports that 21 of 23 plants with-
in the aging refinery have been shut
down, a pending multi-million dol-
lar security bond payment is due
and there remain unpaid bills piling
up from the two-month old oil spill.
While Petrotrin has remained
mum on the shutting down of the
plants, workers at the company have
reported to their representing union,
the Oilfields Workers Trade Union
(OWTU), that the sub-plants have
been "offline for several days".
This, workers said, will invariably
lead to more financial losses for the
already cash-strapped organisation.
OWTU boss Ancel Roget has
questioned why the company was
keeping news of this shut down quiet.
In a telephone interview on the issue,
Roget said if the workers had been
behind the shut down "it would be
all over the news."
"But it s shut down now because
of poor management and we are
hearing nothing," Roget said.
"There is no feed stock to keep
the machinery going and the workers
have nothing to do with that. That
is strictly as a result of poor man-
agement and poor decisions at that
State feeding trough called Petrotrin."
Minister of Energy Kevin Ram-
narine did not return phone calls
and did not respond to e-mails on
the situation. Petrotrin chairman
Lindsey Gillette, president Khalid
Hassanali and communications man-
ager Gillian Friday have not answered
repeated calls, texts and e-mails
regarding the shut down, but one
source close to the executive has
confirmed that the plants have been
off-line due to a lack of raw material
feed stock to supply the refinery.
In fact, the Sunday Guardian was
told that senior management man-
dated that "no one speak to the Sun-
day Guardian" when they learned
the matter was being investigated.
In the past year, Petrotrin has faced
numerous money-losing situations,
triggered by workers action, by the
December 17 oil spill and by infra-
structural issues within the refinery.
US$150m bond payment due
This latest setback could affect
the company s ability to furnish its
massive US$150 million in secured
bonds insurance payment which
becomes due this year. The bond,
which was underwritten by MBIA
Insurance Corp back in 2001, holds
the company assets as collateral.
The Sunday Guardian acquired a
document from US rating firm Stan-
dard and Poor which shows that pay-
ment on a financial guaranty insur-
ance policy issued by international
insurers---MBIA Insurance Corp---is
due this year.
Though the bond issue was given
a favourable triple A rating, it is
dependent on Petrotrin s ability to
ensure "timely payment of interest
and principal," the Sunday Guardian
According to the Standard and
Poor assessment, the underlying risk
to MBIA is based on Petrotrin s ability
to "produce and export a sufficient
amount of diesel fuel/No 2 Oil (No
2 Oil) to generate a sufficient amount
of receivables to pay debt service."
"The structural enhancements in
place to mitigate sovereign risk,
including the assignment of receiv-
ables to Caribbean Heating Oil Pur-
chase Co Ltd and the requirement
that, under the terms of the No 2
Oil contract, Petrotrin, acting as agent
for the issuer, will resell the quarterly
delivery requirement of No 2 Oil sold
to the issuer to certain long-standing
customers of Petrotrin.
"In addition, each approved buyer
will receive irrevocable instructions
from Petrotrin notifying the buyer
of the forward sale contract and
instructing each buyer to make all
payments into the offshore account,"
the document read.
But MBIA is allowed to control
the sale of Petrotrin s products to
ensure its payment is protected. The
documents provide disincentives to
"Since it would require the com-
pany to redirect all products sold to
the approved buyers, Petrotrin is the
dominant seller in the regional mar-
ket with a 74 per cent market share
in 2000/2001 based on its ability to
provide multi product cargoes to its
customers," the document said.
Roget admitted that with all the
financial setbacks at Petrotrin in the
past year, he was concerned about
the company s ability to finance its
massive bond debt.
In response to e-mailed questions,
managing director, head of investor
relations at MBIA Inc, Gregory R
Diamond, would only say that he
could not comment.
"As the insurer of bonds, we are
generally not permitted to share
information about the issuers of those
bonds," Diamond said.
Questions regarding the loan
repayment were submitted to both
Friday and Petrotrin corporate events
co-ordinator Joy Antoine, but to date
they have not been answered.
Other loan parameters:
According to the Standard and
Poors document, there are several
other parameters surrounding the
bonds, which include:
The loan also expects a "suf-
ficient level of overcollateralisation",
which, on average, is expected to be
over five times the debt service, given
a 15-year average No 2 Oil price and
over two and a half times the debt
service given a 15-year minimum
price level for a No 2 Oil stress case.
The availability of a liquidity
facility to cover debt service for the
next two quarterly payments.
The sale of product to high
creditworthy borrowers, reducing the
risk of losses resulting from a default
by an approved buyer. Petrotrin is
obligated to maintain at least three
approved buyers, each of which must
be rated at least triple- B -plus or a
wholly owned subsidiary of a parent
that is rated at least single- A -plus.
Tension at Petrotrin
Five days after Kesav Ragoo, 20,
survived an accident which claimed
the life of soldier Junior La Barrie,
he and one of his friends were burnt
to death after the car in which they
were travelling crashed and burst
into flames near their Freeport
Ragoo, of Ramdass Trace, La
Quesa, and his friend Sheldon Ram-
dial, 25, of Arena Road, died on the
spot. The survivor, driver and close
friend Steffon Madho, 20, of Felicity,
Chaguanas, is listed in a critical con-
dition at the Eric Williams Medical
Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
The deaths of the young men
plunged the close knit Freeport com-
munity into mourning.
Police reports indicate that Madho
was heading south along the Solomon
Hochoy Highway around 12.05 am,
on his way to drop off Ragoo and
Ramdial at their respective homes.
While attempting to enter the
Freeport exit he lost control of his
white Nissan B15 and the vehicle ran
off the road, overturned and burst
into flames, trapping the passengers
Kerwin Fraser, who lives nearby,
heard the loud sound and rushed to
the scene, where he was able to rescue
Madho before the car became
engulfed in flames. Fraser said he
crossed the road and saw the bonnet
of the vehicle in flames. He saw the
driver attempting to escape the burn-
ing car and dragged him to safety.
"He was severely burnt," Fraser
Fraser said after pulling Madho to
safety, he heard something like the
honking of a horn. On hearing this,
a woman also at the scene asked if
there were other passengers in the
"He started calling out the names
of the guys in the car and numbers
of their families, who to call, but by
then it was to late. The entire car
was engulfed. We could not rescue
them," Fraser said.
Fire officers who responded to the
incident were able to extinguish the
Villagers blamed the accident on
a "bad drive" from another driver.
Ragoo s eldest sister Steffie
Sinanan, 26, told the Sunday
Guardian her brother was the baby
of the family, explaining he was the
youngest child and only son.
An emotional Sinanan pleaded
with drivers to be more cautious and
considerate to others on the road.
"People have to be more careful
and stop drinking and driving," she
said.She said she last spoke to her
brother around 7 pm on Friday. At
the time, he told her he was waiting
"Kesav would go out with his
friends but he was not into drinking
and partying heavily."
Sinanan said last Monday Ragoo
survived an accident near the Seeram
Brothers Ltd, Chase Village, a short
distance from where he died yester-
day. That accident claimed the life
of La Barrie, who was a member of
the T&T Regiment. La Barrie was
buried on Friday.
Sinanan said Ragoo s van was dam-
aged by the car driven by the 16 year-
old boy who was charged in that inci-
dent, but he walked away without
Ragoo was a student at the Metal
Industry Company, Point-a-Pierre,
and was two months away from grad-
uating. One of his classmates and
friend, Kaleem Mohammed,
described him as a cheerful and happy
"He always knew how to make
everyone laugh. I was looking forward
to celebrating my birthday with him
on Sunday," Mohammed said.
The Ramdial family asked that the
media respect their right to mourn
in private yesterday.
The Sunday Guardian understands
Ramdial was also the only son to his
parents and the youngest of his sib-
lings. He was self employed
Minister of the People and Social
Development and MP for the area,
Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, visited
both families during a walkabout in
the community yesterday and
expressed his condolences.
"We have lost two very bright and
promising young men in the com-
munity," Ramadharsingh said.
Ramadharsingh pledged the full
support of his ministry to both fam-
ilies, saying counseling and funeral
grants would be made available if
In a separate accident in Manzanil-
la, Kevin Forde, 28, was killed when
the Hyundai Matrix he was a pas-
senger in ran off the Manzanilla/
Mayaro Road around 7 pm on Fri-
Police reports state that the driver
of the Matrix attempted to overtake
another vehicle along the road when
a tyre blew out. He lost control of
the vehicle, which overturned and
hit a coconut tree. Forde was pro-
nounced dead at the scene. The driver
and two other occupants, whose
identities are still unknown, were
taken to Sangre Grande Hospital
where they were warded yesterday
2 burnt to death in exploding car
...Plants offline, workers being paid for 'idleness'
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