Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 17th 2014 Contents United Kingdom High Com-
missioner to T&T, Arthur
Snell, has denied that either
the High Commission or he
ever promoted British firm
HS Ocean Group to do busi-
ness here and claimed that the High Com-
mission merely assisted the company in "facil-
itating a meeting" with Deo Gosine, managing
director of the Labidco port.
The denial comes in the wake of HS Ocean
Group having come to T&T, engaged a number
of contractors and suppliers and then left the
country owing them more than $60 million.
In an e-mail response on Tuesday to several
questions from the Business Guardian, Snell
wrote, "As you are already aware, HS Ocean
held a workshop on June 22, 2012, at the prem-
ises of the British High Commission with a
variety of companies from the energy sector
in Trinidad. Prior to that, in May 2012, Deo
Gosine, managing director, Labidco, had
requested a meeting with UKTI (UK Trade
and Investment) in Port-of-Spain to discuss
Labidco s port project in La Brea and the pos-
sibility that British companies might get
"Independently of the British High Com-
mission, HS Ocean identified Labidco as a
potential partner for its work in Trinidad. HS
Ocean s representatives sought our assistance,
which we gave, in facilitating a meeting with
Labidco s managing director. Thereafter, the
companies worked directly with each other,
without reference to the British High Com-
mission or UKTI."
The UK High Commissioner went further
to point out that in November 2012, Labidco
reported to the Ministry of Energy that they
had reached agreement with HS Ocean to
establish a rig care and maintenance centre.
Last week, the Business Guardian reported
exclusively that several small and medium-
sized contractors could be left holding the
proverbial bag as they are owed more than
$60 million by a British firm, HS Ocean Group
Ltd, which has now left T&T without paying
Further, HS Ocean Group is now saying it
does not have a cent to pay the contractors.
It has even warned local contractors that should
they try to recover their money in the British
courts, they will find they are in effect dealing
with a paper company and will have little
chance of recovering their money.
In addition, Gosine told the Business
Guardian, "When a company like Rowan Goril-
la Drilling and the British High Commissioner,
who visited my company, recommend HS
Ocean, I had confidence that the company
was one that is reputable but they have left
owing me $20 million."
But the High Commissioner has insisted
that Gosine and MS Ocean engaged in their
business deals without the High Commission
having any part in it.
Snell wrote, "The British High Commission
was not involved with discussions or nego-
tiations undertaken to reach this agreement
between the two companies."
On the issue of HS Ocean owing local con-
tractors millions of dollars, the High Com-
missioner is now terming it an allegation which
he said is being denied by HS Ocean.
"I am aware of allegations against HS Ocean
Group made by certain local businesses. I am
also aware that HS Ocean has refuted these
allegations and continues to operate in various
locations worldwide," Snell wrote.
This seems at variance with letters the
lawyers for the very HS Ocean wrote to con-
tractors, copies of which the Business Guardian
In a letter from HS Ocean Group s Lon-
don-based attorneys, Cope and Company
dated June 13, the attorneys said their client
was entering into arbitration with Rowan and
was hoping it can be settled.
"The company will shortly enter into arbi-
tration with the Rig owner in an attempt to
recover the outstanding payments that are
due and owing to it which, if successful, will
hopefully result in a payment being available
for the company s creditors. Ultimately, and
as set out in our June 6 letter, without such
payment being made by the Rig owner, the
company does not have sufficient assets to
make any payment to its creditors."
In a letter from HS Ocean Group s attorneys
dated June 6, the contractors are being told
that unless HS Ocean is paid in full by the
owners of the Rowan Gorilla III rig, then they
will not be able to pay the contractors.
Cope and company wrote, "The company
does not have any other source of income or
any assets of value. Accordingly, the company
is unable to make any payment of its sub-
contractors until the Rig owner pays in full
the sums due and owing to the company."
The lawyers also warned it would not be a
good idea to go to court.
"Should any sub contractor instigate formal
recovery proceedings it will inevitably lead to
the liquidation of the company which would
result in creditors receiving little, if any, pay-
ments towards the sum owed to them" Cope
and Company asserts.
Snell said he was proud of the "positive
role" British businesses play in T&T and point-
ed out that his country was the second largest
overseas investor in T&T.
In November 2013, the Rowan Gorilla Jack
Up Rig arrived in T&T and was moored at the
Labidco Port owned by Gosine. The Rig was
brought to T&T by Repsol, EOG and Trinity
to drill a minimum of seven wells on their
various acreages with a possible extension of
another year s worth of drilling.
While at the Labidco Port, the rig had to
be serviced and supplied so it can embark on
the drilling campaign and Rowan Gorilla
Drilling Company hired HS Ocean to contract
with local companies to do the work and pro-
vide the supplies.
So, in following the money, EOG, Repsol
and Trinity agreed to pay Rowan Gorilla Drilling
Company US$160,000 a day or more than $1
million a day to drill their wells. Rowan then
hired HS Ocean and HS Ocean hired the local
companies. Figures which the Business
Guardian has show that the British firm has
not paid any single contractor 50 per cent of
what it owes them.
Up to press time, local contractors were still
left holding the proverbial bag.
JULY 2014 • WEEK THREE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
ENERGY | BG9
Envoy on UK company owing local suppliers:
High Commission 'facilitated'
meeting with Labidco boss
Links Archive July 16th 2014 July 18th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page