Petrotrin refinery

Petrotrin’s board swapped

PORT OF SPAIN, September 4, 2017 – Trinidad and Tobago’s former Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs Kevin Ramnarine on Monday expressed concerns following Friday’s announcement that Prime Minister Keith Rowley had appointed a new board of directors for state-owned Petrotrin.

As part of the changes, Selwyn Lashley, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries will now also serve on the NOC’s board in the same position.

“The appointment of the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy to the board of Petrotrin also raises several questions,” Ramnarine said. “The permanent secretary is the accounting officer of the regulator of the energy sector. He oversees the implementation of the Petroleum Act. Petrotrin’s operations are regulated by the Ministry of Energy. This is therefore a case of himself regulating himself.”

Other new board members include Joel Harding, Linda Rajpaul, Ranvir Rampersad, Wilfred Espinet, Reynold Ajodha-Singh, Nigel Edwards, Anthony Chan Tack and Eustace Nances.


Describing the board’s new composition at a press conference last Friday, Prime Minister Rowley said, “What we were looking for is a particular skillset and in looking at the skillset, we brought in new people and we have kept some.”

The new board’s overall mandate is to return Petrotrin’s operations to a sustainable and profitable state. It will also oversee the company’s restructuring.

Prime Minister Rowley also stated that Petrotrin’s debt had reached around USD 850 million, a sum that the company will have difficulties resolving by the 2019 due date.

While management has been problematic, production declines, labour expenditures and the mid-2014 fall in oil prices have also adversely impacted the company’s revenue stream. In addition, Petrotrin’s refinery is equipped with outdated infrastructure that poses serious safety and environmental risks.

“I wake up feeling relieved that the news does not say that a line has been broken at Petrotrin and oil has been poured in the Gulf of Paria,” Prime Minister Rowley said. “The cost of the clean up not only in Trinidad and Tobago’s borders, but across in Venezuela […] can bankrupt this country if such a thing happens.”

Read our latest insights on: