PETROTRIN chairman, Lindsay Gillette, yesterday declared there was “strong evidence” which suggests that two of the 11 oil spills which occurred over the last two weeks were acts of sabotage.
However, he said the exact causes of all these spills remain unclear, and under investigation. With the estimated cost of cleaning-up these spills at $8 million and rising, Gillette said Petrotrin is “going to spend whatever is required” to clean-up the spills, and is hoping to complete all of this work by the end of February.
Gillette made the comment at a news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, accompanied by other Petrotrin officials, after they briefed a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by Acting Prime Minister Errol McLeod.
Reminding reporters the 11 oil spills were “highly unusual,” Gillette said four were directly related to the State oil company. Four were related to Trinity Exploration, one to Neal and Massy Energy Services, two from an oil sheen in the Gulf of Paria, for which no source has been identified, and the one in La Brea.
“While the sources of these incidents have not yet been determined, strong evidence suggests direct and wilful acts of sabotage,” he said. Indicating there were two such cases, Gillette said the first was at Rancho Quemado, operated by Trinity, where “two bull plugs were deliberately removed from tanks” and specialised tools were required to do that. The second was at Petrotrin’s Riser Five platform where “a line was deliberately tampered with.”
While insisting there was no way these two incidents were acts of negligence, and saying the matter was being investigated by the police, Gillette could not say what was the cause of the other three oil spills attributed to Petrotrin. “We are also continuing our investigations,” he said.
Insisting that Petrotrin’s facilities are regularly inspected and the company is operated on international standards, Gillette said Petrotrin was working very closely with the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) to determine the source of these spills, and has been conducting its own internal investigations…READ MORE