Saturday, March 2 2013
DESPITE some challenges, Petrotrin’s Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) Plant, which should produce 40,000 barrels a day (b/d) of diesel with a sulphur content under eight parts per million, is expected to be completed this year.
So said Petrotrin president, Khalid Hassanali, as he spoke to the media yesterday at the Caricom’s 41st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Energy, at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.
“We have had some challenges but we have had some very tight project management these days on the ULSD as we call it. That would allow us to sell our diesel in any part of the world because of the improved specifications. Just like the Gasoline Optimisation Programme, not only would it allow us to produce a higher volume of gasoline and more valuable products, but also to meet the specifications that are international, so that we can sell around the world,” said Hassanali.
He also noted that the gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant, which costs Petrotrin over $2.7 billion, was still in receivership, but that the receiver, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, was entertaining bids from prospective buyers. According to Hassanali, one arbitration was completed, and the receiver was going into another round of arbitration.
In 2005, Petrotrin and United States company, World GTL entered into an agreement to build the plant in Trinidad, which was to be completed in 2008. GTL technology converts natural gas to a clean liquid which is almost free from impurities. When blended with diesel, the product would be high in demand as ULSD. However, with the near completion of the ULSD plant, GTL would no longer be necessary.
In 2010 however, World GTL accused Petrotrin of wrongfully expropriating its funds, while Petrotrin alleged that its partner breached contractual obligations. The accusations led to a $12 billion lawsuit against Petrotrin in the International Court of Arbitration in New York which, in 2012, ruled in Petrotrin’s favour. In 2009 and 2010, Petrotrin was forced to write off the GTL investment at $1.2 billion per year.