Energy Chamber President: Private sector should fund Petrotrin's change

It is up to Petrotrin’s board to determine the strategic direction of the company so there can be change, Energy Chamber President Dr Thackwray Driver said yesterday. He added that the funding to support the change must come from the private sector, not Government.

Driver’s comments followed an address by Energy Minister Franklin Khan at the opening of the Society of Petroleum of T&T’s Energy Conference on Monday in which he underscored the urgent need for change at the State-owned energy company, but said Government was not going to inject the capital needed for that change.

The company produces 40, 270 barrels per day which is almost 60 per cent of the total domestic oil production but this had been declining, according to Khan, because of limited exploration activities due to financial constraints and asset integrity issues.

Driver praised the Government for it hands off approach to the changes needed at Petrotrin. He said for some time the Energy Chamber had been calling for changes in the company’s operations.

“We think that it’s good that the Government is not getting involved in the restructuring, is not getting involved in the operations and leaving it up to the board. Government is taking the right approach by empowering the board to make those changes,” he said.

“The Chamber has been saying that Petrotrin needs to find the capital to invest, particularly increasing its oil production and investing in upgrading its ageing assets.

“That investment can only come from the private sector the Government does not have money to put into it. The company cannot go into further debt. That means it needs equity participation from the private sector in whatever form there is. There are a lot of different forms that can be used,” he said.

Driver said the models available to Petrotrin include lease out programmes and joint ventures, as well as listing portions of the company on the T&T Stock Exchange.

He also agreed with Khan about job opportunities for university graduates, not only in the energy sector but throughout the economy. He said it all comes down to creating economic growth and expansion of businesses.

Source: (Nadaleen Singh)

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