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Trinidad: Petrotrin plans failed

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert’s observation during the 2018/2019 budget presentation that Petrotrin was “tottering on the brink” as it failed to adjust its business model was borne out in the supporting documents, State Enterprises Investment Programme 2019 (SEIP) and Review of the Economy 2018.

The company was described as having failed to execute major projects while incurring significant cost overruns. Those projects included the ultra-low sulphur diesel plant, the gas to liquids plant and the gasoline optimisation programme, which witnessed its cost rise from $2.45 billion in 2005 to $12.6 billion in 2013.

In his speech, Imbert said the company’s debt burden stood at $12 billion, with $5.78 billion due in 2019.

He said the cost of the ultra-low sulphur diesel plant also skyrocketed from $791 million to $2.89 billion.

While the project is 98 per cent mechanically completed, he said, it cannot be operated because the “structural specifications were not followed, meaning that the foundation is faulty and cannot be used.” It would take $2.5 billion to rectify the defects.

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