Petrotrin President Fitzroy Harewood admits that the state-owned company is too reactive when it comes to safety saying it would cost approximately $16 billion over the next four years to repair Petrotrin’s aging infrastructure.
He also revealed that two of the seven tanks that were deemed high risk, are currently being repaired.
Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Energy Chamber of T&T held at Cara Suites hotel in Claxton Bay yesterday, Harewood said Petrotrin planned to implement a company-wide asset integrity programme which may cost Petrotrin billions of dollars.
The company came under fire after Tank 70, deemed high risk since 2003, ruptured on April 28, spilling high density crude in the Gulf of Paria. The oil, which reached the east coast of Venezuela has already killed thousands of fish, as well as sea turtles and birds.
Saying Petrotrin must adopt a proactive safety culture and become 100 per cent environmentally compliant, Harewood said he was not happy with the company’s track record on environmental safety. Asked what were Petrotrin’s losses following the spillage and whether anyone would be held liable for the mishap, Harewood said investigations are ongoing.
“I can’t give the cost for the recent incident. We are doing investigations to collate that. It is a challenge we face with improving the asset integrity at Petrotrin,” Harewood added.
Asked whether Petrotrin is liable for the deaths of the three Venezuelan medics who perished at sea, Harewood said “This is a matter to be dealt with by the Ministry of Energy.”
“Once you talk cross-country obligations you have to talk to the Ministry of Energy. That is not our responsibility. That is not something we want to talk in the public or make any pronouncements about,” he added.
Asked whether he was satisfied that the oil spill was handled appropriately, Harewood said industry experts had been liaising with the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) so he was “fairly confident” that the matter was handled well.
He did not give any details as to how much oil was spilled but said employees were working assiduously to clean up the spill. Quizzed about why booms were used instead of skimmers to contain the spill, Harewood said this would depend on the density of the material that had spilled. He said one could not compare the 2013 oil spill with the recent spill because climatic conditions which determine trajectory modelling in the Gulf were different in both cases.
He also said Petrotrin is investigating why the tank ruptured as the company had commissioned a contract last year to repair the tank.
“We have an investigation going on. I already said we commissioned a contract last year after we identified seven tanks that needed to be cleaned and fully inspected. This is different from external inspections and routine inspections. That tank was part of the seven we are doing.”
SOURCE: www.guardian.co.tt (Radhica Sookraj)