Tue | Jan 22, 2019

T&T in a tailspin after Petrotrin announces restructuring

Published:Friday | August 31, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Trinidad and Tobago remained in a tailspin this week as the country reacted to news of the planned closure of the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Petrotrin).

Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet announced the move on Tuesday as part of a restructuring exercise.

According to a statement from Petrotirn, the restructuring exercise is geared towards curtailing losses at the state-owned oil company and getting it on a path to sustainable profitability.

Approximately 2,600 permanent jobs will be affected, with 800 workers to reapply for their jobs in a redesigned exploration and production business, while all 1,700 jobs in refining will be terminated.

The announcement followed months of review and analysis by the company's board of directors, which was appointed last September to identify the problems at Petrotrin and take the steps necessary to make the company self-sustainable and profitable.

Petrotrin has lost a total of about TT$8 billion (approximately US$118 million) in the last five years, is TT$12 billion in debt, and owes the government of Trinidad and Tobago more than TT$3 billion in taxes and royalties.

The company requires a cash injection of TT$25 billion to stay alive, and even with that, if left as is, it is projected to continue losing about TT$2 billion a year.

Petrotrin is an integrated oil and gas company that is heavily involved in petroleum operations such as exploration for, development of and production of hydrocarbons, as well as the manufacture and marketing of a wide range of petroleum products.

It processes crude oil to make petroleum products such as naphtha, diesel, cooking gas (LPG), kerosene, aviation fuel oil, and gasoline. These products are sold on the Trinidadian, regional and international markets.