NP Gas Station at Cross Crossing San Fernando. (Image: KRISTIAN DE SILVA)

The decision to sell off the 81 gas stations belonging to the National Petroleum Company comes after years of the company haemorrhaging from the cost of upkeep of those gas stations.

This, according to NP’s chief executive officer, John Gormandy. He was speaking on CNC3’s the Morning Brew on Thursday.

Gormandy said the company provides monthly, quarterly and yearly financial statements to the Government, which would have predicated this decision.

“They would have seen that the company would have experienced some decline in sales, especially on the retail side where we started to haemorrhage,” Gormandy said. “It’s a really heavy capital investment area and based on the downward trend of the fuel sales, consumers are now opting to move to more fuel efficient forms of transportation—mainly the hybrid and the CNG, and we’ve seen a downward trend in the fuel sales.”

He said the switch to more fuel efficient vehicles led to a 3-4 per cent decline in NP’s revenue.

Gormandy said there was nothing the company’s management could have done to prevent its financial hardship in a regulated pricing fuel market.

“We have been operating in a controlled environment—the pricing system is regulated, the room for growth is limited, we have x amount of vehicles on the road, and there are two wholesalers competing,” the NP CEO pointed out.

He added: “NP also has a social responsibility. Our mandate is slightly different from our competitor. We have to service areas that our competitor doesn’t, more rural areas and even Tobago.”