Pointe-a-Pierre Refinery: No One Buying What We Selling

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‘Petrol prices continue to surge but poor Trinidad and Tobago, we no longer have a refinery because the Dr Keith Rowley-led Government decided to close down our refinery and leave it to rust down to nothing’

By Neil Gosine

EVEN though Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has apparently come to his senses and said his country’s oil refinery is available for use, Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat says they plan to build their own refinery.

He said, “We’re looking to build our own refinery in country.”

But Bharrat said, “We are trying to ensure that we are self-sufficient in terms of energy so that’s why we are moving towards setting up the refinery in country.”

Oil refineries are making nearly five times as much money from refining petrol as they did a couple of years ago, recent data show. The lack of crude oil has helped to increase fuel prices to record levels and increased profits for refineries worldwide.


Petrol prices continue to surge but poor T&T, we no longer have a refinery because the Dr Keith Rowley-led Government decided to close down our refinery and leave it to rust down to nothing.

The worldwide lack of refining capability has contributed to high fuel prices in other countries, including T&T and now we see why it was so important to keep Petrotrin up and running. Now he’s trying to market our refinery to a Guyana who has flatly rejected his proposal.

Now we see the real business acumen of our prime minister and his energy technocrats. We would have been making a killing if our esteemed prime minister did not close down the refinery. Not to mention that we would have a steady stream of foreign exchange that is so desperately needed in this country right now. Guyana is not taking him on as we know that the Guyana government issued a Request for Proposals for a privately-owned 30,000-barrel-per-day oil refinery in Region Six (East Berbice- Corentyne) in 2022 already.


The closure of Petrotrin has had ripple effects throughout our whole country, and I have said this before it was a bad decision. When it was happening, I wrote letters on it, begging the powers that be, the prime minister not to close down Petrotrin. It has had a domino effect across the country, not to mention putting thousands of families on the breadline, as well as hundreds of contractors and service companies that all depended on work from Petrotrin.

Now we are seeing the real cost of that closure. Higher unemployment rates. We are like beggars in Guyana with cap in hand, where our PM said his government is “exploring the market” for a user of its 140,000-barrel-per-day oil refinery.

Since Petrotrin’s demise we have experienced one of our highest unemployment rates since the 1980s recession, further upon the closure of Petrotrin under this Rowley-led Government we continue to peddle our expertise in oil and gas but no one is buying what we are selling.


The PM continues to talk up T&T’s expertise in the gas development sector, asking the Caribbean leaders to use our country’s experience and facilities in the development of regional energy plans, but from the looks of it, no one at the Guyana energy conference seems to be taking us on.

Petrotrin, once a giant in our region, is now a rust bucket and this has had devastating consequences in T&T. It has had a downward impact as the GDP reduction continues to spiral down, as production power is reduced and importation bills continue to increase driving up our food prices.

The forex has been affected tremendously during the transition and we do not seem to be able to find a light at the end of the tunnel. In March 2022, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo stated that Trinidad’s economy has been dependent on oil revenues for many years and in the past few years, due to the economic shocks that have impacted the global markets including the country’s declining production, the T&T economy has been “falling apart.” He basically implied that Trinidad and Tobago is not the example Guyana will follow.

The unfortunate truth is everything is extremely hard now financially for everyone in this country and our prospects look dim. The prime minister and his energy team made some unintelligent and selfish decisions that have now come back to bite us in our behinds. The price of fuel is so high at the moment that the average citizen can not afford to pay for it although the price of fuel internationally is lower than what we pay at the pump, we see no adjustment at the pump by this Government. We have to face the reality that we all see, that every citizen faces now, we just can’t afford the cost of living in Trinidad and Tobago.

We have reached the lowest point, loss of hope and utter despair in our leadership. Our great almighty leader, Dr Rowley who can negotiate for himself several hundreds of thousands of dollars discounts on personally buying property in Tobago, cannot make the right financially sound decisions for his country. His vision and direction have surely taken us to the brink of failure.

Dr Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSC in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.


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