Dr David Lee, Member of Parliament for Pointe-a-Pierre and Shadow Energy Minister, says Franklin Khan, Minister of Energy (left), is presiding over the collapse of T&T’s energy sector. (Images courtesy Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago)

Member of Parliament for Pointe-a-Pierre, Dr David Lee, says the move by Proman to shut down two of its plants is a direct result of the incompetence of the current administration—most especially, Energy Minister Franklin Khan.  He called for the Minister to resign.

Earlier today, Proman Trinidad and Tobago issued a release stating that it had no choice but to leave idle two of its Methanol plants—the M4 and M5000 plants—effective immediately.  The company indicated that its M2 and M3 plants will continue running on DeNovo gas only.

In a statement issued today not long after the Proman announcement, the Opposition MP says the Rowley administration “continues to fail, destroy and decimate the energy sector”.

“The startling revelation by Proman’s Managing Director that the significant increase in NGC gas pricing for April made their M4 and M500 plants economically unsustainable, shows how our energy sector has become uncompetitive as well as less productive under this Government,” said Dr Lee, who is the Shadow Minister of Energy.

“These shutdowns, like the other major petrochemical plant shutdowns in the past months, are a direct result of this administration’s failed Houston gas price negotiations as well as their thorough inability to address the gas shortage,” he added. 

The Opposition MP argues that Government cannot lay the blame for this latest development on COVID-19 or global energy market conditions.

“Since 2017, we have seen major petrochemical plants shutdown with giants such as YARA closing down in 2019, all because of the unattractive conditions created by this government,” Dr Lee said.  “How can we have confidence in a Minister who said the energy sector is in a good position, yet weeks later, a company that has offered over 30 years’ service to this nation has had to idle two key plants?” 

The Shadow Energy Minister says Governments handling of the gas crisis in the downstream sector has been irresponsible, and he questioned recent policy decisions made.

He stated: “It is damning and detrimental to the economic well-being of our nation that the gas supply of a company like Proman which has generated millions in revenue, forex as well as created hundreds of jobs in the past would be hindered, yet Niquan a company that has no industry track record and is reportedly struggling to meet its production targets has been given a guaranteed supply of gas.” 

The Pointe-a-Pierre MP says Minister Khan must be relieved of his post, otherwise the country with see “a catastrophic collapse of our energy sector beyond the point of no return”.