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 Government: Patriotic Couldn’t Fund Refinery

The Pointe-a-Pierre Refinery at sunset. Photo/AZPNews

Government: Patriotic Couldn’t Fund Refinery

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FUNDING was the reason why the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU)-owned Patriotic Energies and Technologies Company Limited did not acquire the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

This was revealed during a virtual presser hosted by Finance Minister Colm Imbert and Minister of Energy Franklin Khan on Tuesday.

Khan said, “All that Patriotic was able to produce… was a letter from RBC saying they were interested in assisting Patriotic.

“They gave no guarantee of providing funding, they gave no commitment on providing funding, they gave no timeframe, they gave no terms, so it was not a suitable offer.”

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Imbert had announced in Parliament in September 20, 2019 that Patriotic was the preferred bidder, from a shortlist of five and had offered an upfront payment of US$700,000 for the refinery plus US$300 million for its non-core assets.

Its proposal was rejected on October 31, last year, but Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley asked the evaluation committee to take a second look and make further comments.

On Tuesday, Imbert said that Patriotic was now offering an upfront payment of US$500 million for the refinery and its fuel trading assets.

He said government was not satisfied with this counterproposal  and that Patriotic could not provide evidence of their ability to pay.

Screenshot of virtual presser with Minister of Finance Colm Imbert, left, and Minister of Energy Franklin Khan

Khan said, “The key issue here is that the government wants the refinery restarted but the government has no equity to put into the refinery and it doesn’t want to be part of that refinery process.

“We wanted to run without state capital, without state interjection and without state funding.

“We have disaggregated Heritage and Paria, which was successful. The refinery was always the cancer in Petrotrin. If some other entity can see it fit to restart the refinery in a profitable business model, that is what the government wants.

“Government is not going to come back in situation where we recreate a new Petrotrin.”

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