The recent announcement and promotion of two new oil companies by Government over the weekend has caused more questions to be raised at a time when our nation continues to seek pertinent answers and clarity concerning our local oil and gas industry in light of the closure of Petrotrin. The manner in which government has hastily unveiled the Paria Fuel trading company and Heritage Petroleum Company as replacements for Petrotrin is cause for great concern given that many significant aspects concerning this launch have not been made available to our tax payers whose resources would be used to set up both entities.
At this point in time, one of the major questions on the minds of our citizens pertains to the registration of both companies and whether these companies have been registered locally in Trinidad and Tobago or registered at all. This question becomes quite relevant given that a company with the same name of “Heritage Petroleum company LLC” exists in the United States.
Is this simply a case of pure coincidence that both companies have the same name or are both entities linked?
It is further inconceivable and rather disrespectful to the population that steps are taking place to operationalize both companies to utilize the state’s resources while the nation remains in the dark as to who are the shareholders of this company, level of ownership by the state as well as the directors of both entities. The people of Trinidad and Tobago need to be told who are the individuals making key decisions as well as how they have been appointed.
This government has routinely boasted about adhering to the principles of transparency and accountability but yet again the nation has been offered no information as to how or why HRC Associates were selected to undertake the staffing of both companies. Questions therefore arise as to who hired HRC Associates, what was the procurement process initiated to select this firm as well as the cost involved to carry out this process.
But what about Petrotrin assets?
The government has neglected to state what assets would comprise both of these new entities and if all of Petrotrin’s assets inclusive of property, machinery as well as marine assets would be placed into the hands of both entities or would a certain percentage or quota be sold off.Government must further state the position as it relates to Petrotrin’s debts and if these new companies would become liable for such.
Besides the operational and administrative issues surrounding both entities another major concern facing our nation is the possibility of more job losses. Would the launch, new role and services of the Paria Fuel trading Company lead to the closure of the National Petroleum Company (NP)? Would we see thousands of employees on the breadline yet again?